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Business and human rights

Engaging with Big Business: Seeking Accountability for the Human Rights Impacts of Corporate Activities

A course on Business and Human Rights organized by Dejusticia

This is a course organized by Dejusticia to explore the use of tools ranging from international treaties to direct negotiations, campaigns, and advocacy  to advance human rights protections and promote corporate accountability for human rights. The course, in a distance learning format, combines theory, practice, and strategies for implementing human rights protections in the context of business activities. It seeks to bring together participants from different sectors, including business, academia, civil society, public officials, and the media.

Course description

The course offers an introduction to key concepts and emerging jurisprudence in the field of Business and Human Rights (BHR). It will address topics such as the international normative and legal framework for BHR and will provide an overview of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, their impact nearly a decade after their adoption,and  institutional mechanisms for their implementation. Building on the foundations of business and human rights, the course also allows participants to  conduct case study simulations and negotiations,  as well as to explore the broader spectrum of tools to implement human rights protections in the context of business activities.

Furthermore, the course takes place in an unprecedented context where the business and human rights framework becomes critical for the  recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will have the opportunity to propose innovative responses to meet the challenges of the global crisis and demand that companies and States comply with human rights standards. Likewise, the course will  emphasize the legal and social impacts of data collection and analysis in crises, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, allowing participants to discover  and apply practical tools in technology, privacy, and digital security.

Course objectives

Throughout the course, participants will  develop an understanding of the main international instruments which outline the protection of, respect for, and remediation of human rights. Participants will also be exposed to the range of practical tools available to governments and companies to ensure respect for human rights. The course is also designed to contribute to the development and implementation of skills such as effective negotiation, international advocacy, and networking.

Teaching methods

The course will be held on Dejusticia´s virtual education platform, enabling  active and participatory remote education. Instructors  will combine theory and practice to provide participants with a holistic understanding of how to hold companies accountable for their human rights impacts, with an emphasis on create accountability in crisis contexts. Instructors will use case studies and practical activities to complement the theoretical sessions. 

Participants will have the opportunity to communicate directly with recognized international leaders in BHR, and will learn first-hand about implementation successes as well as persistent challenges. Participants will also experiment with problem-solving methodologies such as Design Thinking, gain exposure to practical tools for protecting human rights defenders’ security and privacy,  and engage in immersive negotiation workshops based on real world scenarios, which will provide an intensive introduction to negotiation methods.”The course includes a mixture of live and recorded lectures and methodologies, allowing participants to engage in both live pedagogy and autonomous learning.

Through simulations, discussions, workshops, and “learning by doing” activities, participants will acquire a variety of tools to address real-world BHR dilemmas. These tools will address the barriers to implementing human rights protections in the context of business activities, the obstacles to arriving at effective remedies, and the success factors in designing protection strategies. All course content will be provided on an easily accessible and navigable platform.

Instructors and keynote speakers

Global South and Global North practitioners will interact with participants and present them with  theoretical and practical tools, as well as with skills they can use to protect human rights in the business context and to remedy any human rights violations that may occur. 

Keynote speakers

Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes (Colombia. Dejusticia; UN Committee on ESCR)

Soledad García Muñoz (Spain. IACHR; Special Rapporteur on ESCR)

Dante Pesce (Chile,Centro Vincular- United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights)

Fernanda Hopenhaym ( Uruguay/México. PODER; Co-Executive Director)

Camilo Sanchez*( Colombia, Dejusticia-Transitional Justice)

Charity Ryerson*(EE.UU, Corporate Accountability Lab) 


Joanne Bauer ((Rights CoLab)

Brenna Powell (Stanford)

Agustina Pérez (UNLPam) 

Vivian Newman (Dejusticia- Director)

Diana Guzman (Dejusticia – Assistant Director)

Diana Guarnizo (Dejusticia – Economic Justice)

Johnattan Garcia (Dejusticia – Economic Justice)

Sebastián Rubiano (Dejusticia – Environmental Justice)

Juan Carlos Upegui (Dejusticia – Technology, Transparency and Human Rights)

Daniel Ospina (Dejusticia – Technology, Transparency, and Human Rights)

Celso Bessa (Dejusticia- Technology, Transparency, and Human Rights)

Victor Práxedes (Dejusticia- Technology, Transparency, and Human Rights)

Pablo Gómez Pinilla (Dejusticia-Transitional Justice) 

Aaron Acosta (Dejusticia-Transitional Justice)

Application Procedure 

This course is open to social activists and leaders with experience or interest in business and human rights as well as to  law students, graduate students in areas related to human rights, and public servants, judges, and other professionals interested in business and human rights.

Prior knowledge about business and human rights is helpful but not required. Experience in human rights, international advocacy or activism in related contexts, such as environmental activism, anti-corruption, etc., is welcomed.

To apply, those interested should send a completed application form and résumé (2 pages maximum) in PDF format to [email protected].


The deadline for submitting applications for this course is October 7th, 2020.


The tuition fee for this course is US$ 520 per participant. The fee covers registration and materials. A limited number of scholarships are available for tuition.


Scholarships are available to cover the cost of tuition. Scholarship applicants should submit an essay explaining their  need for financial assistance. The scholarships will be directed primarily to individuals from the Global South (Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, or the Middle East) with experience in social activism or community work.





Dates of the course
3 to December 3, 2020

Deadline to submit an application:
October 7th, 2020


Tuition for this course is

US$ 540.00 per participant.

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