Remedy

Five Years On - Nityanand Jayaraman on Activism and the Struggle for Justice in India

16 June 2016

On June 16th 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights. The Guiding Principles were unprecedented on many levels, including by reaffirming and clarifying state duties to protect against abuses involving business and by authoritatively setting out for the first time the human rights responsibilities of all companies. 

Five years on, IHRB reflects on the state of business and human rights, through a series of podcasts and commentaries.

Nityanand Jayaraman is based in Chennai, India, where he is a writer and social activist. He teaches environmental journalism at the Asian College of Journalism. He is part of an anti-corporate collective called Vettiver Koottamaippu, and involves himself in mobilising youth to lend solidarity to social and environmental justice struggles around the country. He is an active volunteer in the campaign for justice in Bhopal and Kodaikanal, and is also supporting communities fighting environmental degradation, corporate crime and destructive land-use change in several parts of Tamil Nadu.

In a conversation with IHRB's Salil Tripathi, he talks about the struggle for justice from mercury contamination near a former thrermometer factory in Kodaikanal, India, culminating with Hindustan Unilever, the Indian subsidiary of Unilever, agreeing to take remedial steps. He also talks about the long campaign for justice following the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984, when a gas leak from a pestcide plant killed more than 2,000 people immediately and many more in subsequent years. A firm believer in the need for a comprehensive treaty to deal with corporate malpractices, Nityanand Jayaraman stresses that companies need to do much more than pledging adherence to UN Guiding Principles, if they wish to make their commitment to respecting human rights real. 

Download Filetype: MP3 - Size: 17.98MB - Duration: 15:43 m (160 kbps 44100 Hz)

Latest IHRB Publications

Increasing Access to Business Practice is Key to Scaling Respect for Human Rights

Finding effective ways to talk about human rights with colleagues is a common challenge confronted by practitioners working in companies to drive implementation of respect for human rights. 

Whether these discussions happen within one’s immediate...

Do It Just: Has Nike Started a New Trend?

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” 

These words, embossed over a close-up photograph of Colin Kaepernick, have already created debate over what many consider a controversial choice by sports company Nike to feature the...

Children’s Rights and Business – Stuck in the “Too Difficult” Box?

Businesses impact on the lives of children in a variety of direct and indirect ways.

Children are consumers of products and services, they are dependents of workers, and they might be young workers themselves or, at least, will be future workers...