Yesterday, the Netherlands government released the official English version of its National Action Plan. The 14 page proposal details current initiatives in the Netherlands to implement the Ruggie Framework as well as results from its consultations with industry, civil society and “other experts” in the field.
The Report is rich with acknowledgments of areas that needs to be improved and provides a spotlight on the current debates in the business and human rights field. Among the challenges identified:
Joanne Bauer, one of the academics who is very active in the business and human rights field, spent last semester in Germany, analyzing business and human rights issues.
Her thoughts and perspective on this can be found here.
I have often bemoaned that US legal academics are way behind in the field of business and human rights research. And, while that is still true, it looks like we are finally trying to close the gap. As anecdotal proof, I offer the following:
Each year the Corporate Practice Commentator annually polls law teachers for top ten articles in the field of corporate and securities law. As part of the process, Robert Thompson, editor for the periodical, provides business law faculty with a list of “corporate and securities articles published and indexed during the calendar year” (in the Current Index of Legal Periodicals). The Current list has close to 600 articles on it. Of those articles, we have eleven that explicitly discuss business and human rights issues. While that might not seem like a lot (and is probably not all of the BHR articles published – in fact if you know of some, please email me and I’ll include it), it is certainly more than I’ve seen in the past and as one small indicator of where we are, I find it heartening nonetheless.