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

The Power of Collective Investor Action to Safeguard Human Rights

We are living in a time of tremendous upheaval, and also great promise.

From existential threats like the ravages of climate change that threaten public health and global water and food supplies, to an unprecedented migrant and refugee crisis...

New Construction Sector Agreement on Protecting Vulnerable Workers

Worker exploitation and ongoing rights abuses in the construction sector are being tackled through a range of initiatives, including guidance from CIOB on tackling modern slavery in construction, the BRE Ethical Labour Standard, and the Stronger...