OHCHR Accountability and Remedy Project III: Enhancing effectiveness of non-State-based grievance mechanisms in cases of business-related human rights abuse
Focus of the report:
non-State-based grievance mechanisms
, including but not limited to:
Company-based grievance mechanisms: mechanisms established and administered by companies (e.g., operational-level grievance mechanisms);
Grievance mechanisms developed by industry, multi-stakeholder, or other collaborative initiatives: mechanisms external to companies that administer a set of commitments that the companies have agreed to adhere to; and
Independent accountability mechanisms of development finance institutions: mechanisms through which those adversely impacted by institution-financed projects can seek remedy
The OHCHR Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP) began in 2014 with the aim of delivering credible and workable recommendations for enhancing accountability and access to remedy in cases of business-related human rights abuse (background on each phase of ARP).
The third phase of the project (ARP III) began in response to a mandate from the Human Rights Council in
resolution 38/13 (July 2018) requesting OHCHR:
"to identify and analyse challenges, opportunities, best practices and lessons learned with regard to
non-state-based grievance mechanisms that are relevant to the respect by business enterprises for human rights, . . . and to submit a report thereon to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its forty-fourth session."
Over the course of 2018-2020, OHCHR engaged in
a robust set of information-gathering activities and, following
ARP’s multi-stakeholder, consultative methodology, developed numerous papers regarding the role and effectiveness non-State-based grievance mechanisms, including a
project scoping paper,
discussion paper, and
At the Human Rights Council’s forty-fourth session in June 2020, OHCHR presented
the ARP III final report and its
explanatory addendum (see
how to read an ARP report). These documents contain:
observations regarding non-State-based grievance mechanisms (in the
- a series of
recommended actions for improving the effectiveness of these mechanisms, drawing upon good-practice lessons uncovered during the two-year project (in the
annex of the report);
explanations and context for these recommendations (found in the
model terms of reference States can use to review the contribution of non-State-based grievance mechanisms to remedy, and the role of the State in facilitating access to remedy through such mechanisms (found in the
Follow-up work on ARP III is currently being conducted through
the fourth phase of the project (ARP IV).
For any questions or comments regarding the ARP III work, please contact
Although the Guiding Principles recognize that non-State-based grievance mechanisms can offer potential benefits to those affected by business-related human rights abuse, few mechanisms are fulfilling their envisaged role.
While there have been welcome attempts to design and operate various kinds of mechanisms, and while there have been valuable contributions by such mechanisms to accountability and remedy, rights holders continue to report significant problems with identifying, accessing and using such mechanisms in practice. The remedies that may be obtained from non-State-based grievance mechanisms are usually partial at best, in many cases due to limitations placed on the mechanism’s mandate, available resources, or both.
The potential contribution of non-State-based grievance mechanisms is often undermined by a lack of policy coherence on the part of States in their approaches to such mechanisms. There is a need for greater recognition by States of the legitimacy and utility of these mechanisms in complementing and supplementing domestic legal and regulatory regimes.
Likewise, there is often a lack of sensitivity and responsiveness of many non-State-based grievance mechanisms to their legal, regulatory, economic, social and cultural contexts. Together with the lack of cooperation between developers and operators of mechanisms in specific contexts and cases, this results in unclear and incoherent processes, inefficiencies and other barriers for rights holders. For their part, developers and operators of such mechanisms need to give much greater emphasis to the needs, expectations and perspectives of the people for whose use these mechanisms are intended.
The recommendation actions found in
the annex of the ARP III report address
- how States can work towards developing a legal and policy space that enables non-State-based grievance mechanisms to make a positive contribution to accountability and remedy; and
- how developers and operators of non-State-based grievance mechanisms can enhance the effectiveness of their mechanisms, as well as take advantage of opportunities for greater cooperation with other entities and mechanisms.
ARP III Main Report: A/HRC/44/32, 19 May 2020
ARP III Addendum: Explanatory Notes to Final Report: A/HRC/44/32/Add.1, 3 June 2020
How to read an ARP report, 22 February 2021
ARP III Programme of Work, 5 October 2020
Blog post on States and non-State-based grievance mechanisms, 28 March 2020
ARP III Consultation Draft of ARP III Recommendations, 17 February 2020
ARP III Discussion Paper, 19 November 2019
Update on OHCHR's project on non-State-based grievance mechanisms (ARP III), 17 April 2019
ARP III Information Note, 11 January 2019
ARP III Paper on Scope and Programme of Work, 1 November 2018
A/HRC/RES/38/13 - Business and human rights: improving accountability and access to remedy, 6 July 2018
Events, Meetings, Etc.
This section includes certain events and other types of meetings in which OHCHR took part, and which can be made public. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it representative of the geographic reach of the project, which was global in nature.
OHCHR is actively seeking to participate in events related to accountability and access to remedy for business-related human rights abuse. If you would like to notify the ARP team of, or invite us to, relevant events, or propose organizing an event with us, please contact
Session at the 2020 Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights
Presentation at the 2020 Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights for Latin America and the Caribbean
ARP III Report Launch Event
OHCHR Multi-Stakeholder Expert Meeting
Chatham House and GBI Event on Conflict and Post-Conflict Areas
amfori Workshop on Access to Remedy in Global Supply Chains
OHCHR Consultation with rights-holders and civil society
OHCHR ARP III Multi-Stakeholder Consultation
Session at the 2019 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights
International Conference on Banking and Human Rights
OHCHR Peer-Learning Workshop with companies
Sessions at the 12th Asia Human Rights Forum
Civil Society Policy Forum, World Bank Group / IMF 2019 Annual Meetings
International Bar Association Consultation
International Workshop on Access to Justice Mechanisms
National Human Rights Institution Workshop
Session at the 2019 Regional Consultation on Business and Human Rights for Latin America and the Caribbean
OHCHR Southern Africa Sub-Regional Peer-Learning Workshop with companies
OHCHR Southern Africa Sub-Regional Consultation with rights-holders, civil society, and NHRIs
Global Business Initiative on Human Rights Webinar
2019 RightsCon Session
Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project & OHCHR Expert Meeting
International Bar Association Workshop
UN Global Compact Local Network Webinar
Doughty Street Chambers Roundtable
International Organisation of Employers Meeting
Ethical Trade Initiative Workshop
German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs Event
Liechtenstein Initiative for a Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Consultation
European Investment Bank Complaints Mechanism Meeting
BSR Human Rights Working Group Meeting
OHCHR Multi-Stakeholder Consultation
2018 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights Session
Ethical Trading Initiative 20th Anniversary Conference on Responsible Supply Chains
Doughty Street Chambers Roundtable
OHCHR Multi-Stakeholder Expert Meeting
International Trade Union Confederation Global Legal Meeting
The following open process and targeted questionnaires were available for response until 30 April 2019.
Substantial contributions by external organizations
This section contains certain substantial contributions that were submitted to the ARP III team, and which can be made public. The views expressed in these contributions are solely those of the authors and not OHCHR, and OHCHR has not independently verified all claims made in these documents.
Phases of the Accountability and Remedy Project
For background on the greater Accountability and Remedy Project, consult the
ARP background page. For information on specific phases: