An upcoming conference hosted by the West Virginia University College of Law will explore key issues in the growing field of business and human rights.

The conference, which is supported by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, will offer an in-depth examination of the issues and highlight advances in the field with leading experts from around the world.

Business and Human Rights: Moving Forward, Looking Back will be held in the Erickson Alumni Center at Statler Wilson Commons on September 23 and 24. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. Registration on the conference website is required.

Bill Richardson, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will close the first day of the conference with remarks at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23. He is speaking at WVU as part of the annual David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas. Admission is free and open to the public.

“As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected, there’s a vital need to establish a balance between businesses and basic human rights,” said Jena Martin, WVU associate professor of law. “This conference will explore the roles that corporations and civil society should play in ensuring and advancing the cause of human rights.”

Cambridge University Press has announced its interest in publishing papers developed at the conference in an edited volume, subject to peer review.

Roger D. Branigin, the executive director of the Global Corporate Community of Practice for Business & Human Rights, is facilitating the first day of the conference. Featured participants include Dr. Michael Addo, a member of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights; Amol Mehra of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable; and Prabhakar Singh of the National University of Singapore.

More than two dozen panelists are participating in the conference. These include Atabong Tamo from the Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium), Humberto Cantú Rivera of the Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II (France), and Nwamaka Okany of the Amsterdam Center for International Law (The Netherlands).

A conference session at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 23 will specifically spotlight West Virginia business and human rights issues. Other session topics will focus on the history and relationship of business and human rights, due diligence, and identifying risks and impacts.
“For many countries and businesses, the discussion has only just begun even though this is a topic that affects every producer, consumer, and worker on the planet,” said Martin.



CONTACT: James Jolly, College of Law

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