Business and Human Rights in Latin America

The Human Rights Clinic focuses on Business and Human Rights in Latin America with a view to address the responsibility of home states for the activities of private companies operating in Latin America, as well as international standards set within the Inter-American Human Rights System regarding business and human rights. To date, the Clinic has opened two projects:

The impact of extractive industries on the realization of human rights in Latin America

The purpose of the project is to inform a report on the responsibility of home states for the activities of private extractive companies operating in Latin America that can lead to human rights violations. Research will focus on the legal framework in Canada, international standards set within the Inter-American Human Rights System and the identification of illustrative cases.

This project is developed in partnership with the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) based in Washington, D.C. 

Project activities include:

  • Hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights regarding Business, Human Rights and Prior Consultation in the Americas (March 2015).

-   Agenda of the 154 thematic hearing

-   Text of the HR Clinic presentation (Spanish and English)

-   Text of the Participating organizations regarding the Right of Prior Consultation in the Americas (English)

-   Video of the hearing (audio is in English, Spanish and Portuguese)

  • Amicus to the Federal Supreme Court of Mexico regarding the international standards of prior consultation regarding the use of genetically modified soy beans in the territory of Mayan communities (September 2015)

-   Text of the Amicus submitted to the Supreme Court of Mexico on September 30, 2015 (in Spanish).

-   Summary of the Amicus (in English).

-   Press release of the Due Process Law Foundation (DPLF), our Clinic partner, on the facts and repercussions of the case.

  • Amicus Curiae presented to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Xucuru Indigenous People v. Brazil (April 2017).

On April 4, the Human Rights Clinic of the HRREC, University of Ottawa, in association with Due Process of Law Foundation, the Núcleo de Estudios en Sistemas Internacionales de Derechos Humanos of the Federal University of Paraná and the Rede Rede de Cooperação Amazônica submitted an amicus curiae on this case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) regarding the recognition, demarcation and titling of the Xucuru indigenous territory.

In this case, the Court will have to determine if the state of Brazil is responsible for the violation of the rights of personal security, collective property and right to due process and judicial guarantees, due to the unjustifiable delay in the demarcation of the Xucuru territory, located in the Northeast of the country.

The amicus analyses the legal and administrative framework regarding the protection of Indigenous territory in Brazil, highlighting the challenges in the implementation of consultation processes. The amicus also identifies the standards applicable to the recognition, demarcation and titling under the UN and the Inter-American Human Rights System, while showing comparative experiences from Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
We are asking the IACtHR to determine and to expand on what "culturally appropriate" means in policy and legislation regarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples, while asking the Court to take into consideration the issue of "reconciliation" as a means to engage in a discussion about the relationship between the State and Indigenous Peoples as a whole.

Merits Report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights submitting the case to the IACtHR (July 2015).

Video of the Public Hearing of the Xucuru Indigenous People v. Brazil (March 2015- In Portuguese and Spanish).

Text of the Amicus Curiae (only available in Portuguese).

The Standing of Legal Entities (corporations) before the Inter-American Human Rights System

The purpose of the project is to submit an amicus curiae to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding the standing of legal entities before the Inter-American Human Rights System and the question of whether legal entities may be beneficiaries of the human rights protections set out in the American Convention on Human Rights.

Project Activites:

Project Coordinator: Salvador Herencia

Supervisor: Penelope Simons

Back to top