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Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Current members

Ms. Elżbieta Karska 

Ms. Elżbieta Karska is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Protection of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the Director of the Institute of International Law, European Union and International Relations at the Faculty of Law and Administration, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland. She obtained a Master in Law, MBA, Ph.D. (Law) and Higher Doctorate (Habilitated Doctor in Law). Her research field is international law, including international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law. She also deals with the issue of the role of non-state actors in international law. Author of over 100 publications (books, articles and other works) on international law, human rights law, and on European law, including fundamental rights issues. She is a former member of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (2011-2018).

Ms. Fernanda Hopenhaym (Vice-Chairperson as of 1 January 2024)

Ms. Fernanda Hopenhaym is Co-Executive Director at Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research (PODER), an organization in Latin America dedicated to corporate accountability. For twenty years, Ms. Hopenhaym has worked on economic, social and gender justice. Since 2006 Ms. Hopenhaym has been working on issues related to human rights and financial institutions and in the last ten years, she has focused specifically on business and human rights, working to advance corporate accountability and strengthen respect for human rights vis-a-vis private and public investments or development projects, and private sector operations. She has been involved in processes related to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, as well as in other processes regarding relevant instruments, such as the Binding Treaty negotiations and due diligence laws. She has conducted research on cases related to corporate impact on human rights and the environment and worked with and accompanied local communities affected by public/private projects in their pursuit of justice and remedy. She has conducted advocacy in the LAC region and globally to advance corporate accountability and human rights as well as leading training and capacity building on business and human rights related issues. From January 2019 to December 2021, Ms. Hopenhaym was Chair of the Board of ESCRNet, the international network for economic, social and cultural rights; she has been a board member of EarthRights International since early 2021 and an adviser to the Business and Human Rights Award Foundation since early 2020.

Ms. Pichamon Yeophantong

Ms. Pichamon Yeophantong is Associate Professor and Head of Research at the Centre for Future Defence and National Security, Deakin University. She also leads the Responsible Business Lab and the Environmental Justice and Human Rights Project, which are funded by an Australian Research Council Fellowship. As a political scientist, Pichamon teaches and publishes field-based research on business and human rights, and the political economy of sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific. She has advised a range of civil society organisations, NGOs and government agencies on rights, security and investment issues, including Jubilee Australia Research Centre, Oxfam, and the Australian Water Partnership. Prior to joining Deakin, Pichamon held academic positions at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Princeton University, and the University of Oxford. She holds a PhD and MA from the Australian National University and a BA from Thammasat University. In recognition of her work with local partners on initiatives to support the resilience of women leaders and environmental human rights defenders in Southeast Asia, Pichamon was awarded the 2018 Australia 'Future Leader' Prize by the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

Mr. Damilola Olawuyi

Damilola S. Olawuyi is a Professor and UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar. He is also the director of the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development at the Afe Babalola University, Nigeria. He researches and teaches in the fields of natural resources, energy, environment, and business and human rights law, with a focus on Africa and the Middle East. He has published and practiced extensively in these areas, and has advised the World Bank, UN agencies, governments, multinational corporations, and civil society organisations on issues related to business and human rights. From 2020-2022, he served as an Independent Expert of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa (WGEI) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olawuyi has served as Co-Chairman of the Legal Education Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, and member of the governing board of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

Mr. Olawuyi holds a DPhil in Law from the University of Oxford, a LL.M from Harvard Law School and another LL.M from the University of Calgary. He holds a LL.B degree from Igbinedion University, and a Baccalaureate in Law from the Nigerian Law School, both in Nigeria. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy and sits on the Editorial/Advisory Board of the Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law (RECIEL), Carbon and Climate Law Review, African Journal of Law and Human Rights, Gulf Legal Advisor, and the Journal of Environmental Law, Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies. Olawuyi is global vice chair of the International Law Association, Chair of the Association of Environmental Law Lecturers in Middle East and North African Universities (ASSELLMU) and a member of the Academic Advisory Group of the International Bar Association’s Section on Energy, Environment, Resources and Infrastructural Law.

Mr. Robert McCorquodale (Chairperson as of 1 January 2024)

Mr. Robert McCorquodale is the Emeritus Professor of International Law and Human Rights, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom and Barrister / mediator at Brick Court Chambers, London, United Kingdom. He has been researching, teaching and advising on business and human rights for three decades, and has authored numerous scholarly articles and reports. Mr. McCorquodale has advised governments, business enterprises, civil society, international organizations and other stakeholders from around the world about business and human rights issues. This has included empirical research on corporate practices, analyzing law reform proposals and provision of training. Mr. McCorquodale is a legal practitioner who has been involved as an advocate in ground-breaking cases before national courts on parent company liability and in an international human rights law case before the International Court of Justice. He is also a qualified mediator. Mr. McCorquodale was the Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law for 10 years, where there was a focus on business and human rights issues. He is on the Advisory Board of the Business and Human Rights Journal and has been a regular speaker at the sessions of the Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights drafting a treaty on business and human rights.

Former Members

Ms. Anita Ramasastry
(U.S.A.), 2016-2022

Mr. Surya Deva
(India), 2016-2022

Mr. Githu Muigai
(Kenya), 2018-2022

Mr. Dante Pesce
(Chile), 2015-2021

Mr. Michael Addo
(Ghana), 2011-2018

Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga
(Russian Federation), 2011-2018

Ms. Margaret Jungk
(USA), 2011-2016

Ms. Alexandra Guaqueta
(Colombia), 2011-2015

Mr. Puvan Selvanathan
(Malaysia), 2011-2015