Congratulations to Professor Anita Ramasastry who tops the list of candidates for the vacant seat on the United Nations Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The President of the Human Rights Council is due to select a candidate this month to represent the group of “Western European and other States” on the Working Group. It is a great recognition for Anita, who has been a long-time friend and colleague of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. She set up the first business and human rights course at the Centre when she was a visiting scholar ten years ago and she returns every year to give guest lectures and to participate in business and human rights events. She is an ideal candidate for this role, as shown by the summary of her record in the Report of the Consultative Group:
Ms. Ramasastry is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School of Law in the United States of America. She is a research fellow at the Institute for Human Rights and Business, a registered charity in London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Her experience includes senior advisory roles as an expert in the field of business and human rights with the United States Department of Commerce, participating in international and regional human rights fora, such as the first United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, and advising civil society organizations on the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. She is a founding editor-in-chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal. The Consultative Group noted her extensive experience in the area of the mandate, including her stated ability to build bridges across different positions.
The two other candidates for the post are Vanessa Zimmerman (a human rights advisor for Rio Tinto) and Professor Justine Nolan (co-editor of the excellent Business and Human Rights: From Principles to Practice). If selected, Anita will join recently-appointed Professor Surya Deva on the Working Group, who we were fortunate enough to have as one of the external experts at the annual doctoral seminar at the Irish Centre for Human Rights this April. Such appointments strengthen the Working Group and should allow it to fulfill its potential for advancing the business and human rights agenda.