About The Seminar

The IV Homa - Center for Human Rights and Business (www.homacdhe.com) - International Seminar, will be held at the University of São Paulo (USP) Law School, Largo de São Francisco, from August 23rd to 25th, 2017. This edition is being promoted with the support of USP Department of International and Comparative Law, in the person of its Head, Professor Dr. Paulo Borba Casella, and Professor Dr. André de Carvalho Ramos.

This event takes place two months before the Third Intergovernmental Negotiation Session of the Treaty on Human Rights and Business, when the representative of Ecuador, president of the Intergovernmental Group, has the task, according to Res. 26/9 of the UN Human Rights Council, of presenting a document with the foundations for the binding instrument, thus proceeding to a new stage in which it is expected that the States and other international players will be more involved or resistant to the process. In other words, the agenda around the treaty will be a concrete reality that will test the capacity of qualified incidence of the organized civil society and of research centers in order to express the historical yearnings of those affected by Human Rights violations perpetrated by transnational companies, still protected by a framework of mostly non-binding rules.

At the same time, we observe a movement throughout Latin America, with a significant participation of European Union countries, in order to "sponsor" efforts to elaborate the National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights, whose diffusion and internalization through States is defended by the first report of the Business and Human Rights WG released in 2012, shortly after the consensual approval of John Ruggie's Guiding Principles in 2011. Based on pronouncements by government representatives, it also becomes apparent that this lobby for National Plans has played a role of shifting the efforts that would be invested in the treaty process towards the consecration of the content and logic of the Guiding Principles, that is the corporate capture of Human Rights constraints and their enforceability, as well as their maintenance in a voluntarist plan. In addition to this worrying scenario, there is another of institutional and democratic erosion in the countries on the region, which has resulted in serious setbacks in Human Rights, and poses an even greater challenge to Human Rights advocates seeking to offer some form of resistance or restraint to this environment, favorable to corporate impunity.

In this context, therefore, knowledge exchange and the evaluation of experiences of resistance on the subject that may offer alternatives to the advancement of the domain of business interests and conservatism in the region become even more urgent. The IV Seminar is thus conceived as one more space, that now has the priority of gathering social players and academics involved in this field in Latin America. In addition, it aims to attract more partners, so that we prepare for both the Third Intergovernmental Session of negotiation of the Binding Treaty and so that we can reflect on long-term mechanisms capable of offering some alternatives to cope with the regional political scenario. It also intends to provide a discussion on the urgent need to reverse the so-called "statecentric logic" of International Law, laying ground for what we call a "Bottom-Up" Law, capable of also representing peoples’ aspirations.


Created in February 2012 and running with support from the Ford Foundation since its establishment, Homa is an academic centre that aims to develop research in the area of Human Rights and Business, always seeking to contribute to the protection and defense of human rights, which is why these always comes before "Business" on its name. Currently, the centre is organized into three core research lines:

· Global Agenda on Human Rights and Business: Analyzes the application and implementation of the Guiding Principles in Brazil, the development of the Brazilian National Action Plan and the Process of development of an International Binding Instrument on Human Rights and Business;

· Public Funding and Large Enterprises: Analyzes public funding for large companies and enterprises that violate Human Rights and the responsibility of the funding entities for such violations;

· Mechanisms of confrontation against Human Rights Violations by Companies: Investigates specific cases of human rights violations by companies in Brazil; Researches collaborative tools of judicial resistance for victims of human rights violations by companies in Brazil.



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August 23rd

OPENING SESSION: Magna Conference - Corporate Capture of Democracy: The role of the State and of popular sovereignty in the control of TNCs

August 24th

Human Rights and Business: aspects of Public International Law and Private International Law: material legal regulation

The purpose of this session is to discuss material law aspects of the relationship between human rights and business from the standpoint of public and private international law, such as the "lex mercatoria" and the erosion of State control over transnational corporate practices harmful to human rights; international financial and commercial regulation and the protection of human rights by transnational corporations; and models of transnational corporations' accountability for human rights violations in International Law.

Human Rights and Business: aspects of Public International Law and Private International Law: Legal procedural regulation

The proposal of this session is to discuss procedural aspects in the relationship between human rights and business from the point of view of public and private international law, such as universal civil jurisdiction and the circulation of judgments in cases of extraterritorial human rights violations by companies; the Brazilian justice system and corporate accountability for transnational damage; as well as the corporate structure and liability of companies for human rights violations.

National Policy on Human Rights and Business in Latin America

This session will analyze the different internal mechanisms that enable States to effectively hold corporations liable for Human Rights violations. Furthermore, it will be discussed different undergoing initiatives based on articulations within civil society, both Brazilian and international, which oppose to the postulates of National Action Plans recommended by the Human Rights Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, of the United Nations.

August 25th

Human Rights, Mining and other enterprises

In this session the mining global economic cycle will be related and problematized, to the logic of insertion and investment of the transnational companies of different sectors in the territories and the increase in Human Rights violations perpetrated by them. It will also highlight the different strategies of resistance and confrontation with violations, judicial or otherwise, employed by the affected people.

The Social Construction of Rights: in search of a "bottom-up" International Law

This panel will present some political processes of Law building from below, such as the Permanent Peoples' Courts, as well as the historic consolidation of popular demands by binding instruments for the accountability of transnational corporations for Human Rights violations within the United Nations framework, which culminated in the adoption of Resolution 26/9, of the UN Human Rights Council in 2014.

The Negotiation Process for an International Treaty on Human Rights and Business

This panel aims to provide a discussion on different content proposals for the Human Rights and Business Treaty, whose Third Intergovernmental Session of Negotiations will take place in October 2017, within the UN Human Rights Council. These contributions are based on the existing normative accumulation for Human Rights protection, both at the Global and at the Regional and National levels.

Event Location

The Event will take place  at the USP Law School - Largo São Francisco, 95 - São Paulo - SP.

AUDITORIUM - First Floor of the Historic Building


Use the form on the right to sign up for the Seminar.