Carolei D (2022) Applying the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) – An analysis of the National Contact Points Caselaw. Nova Centre on Business, Human Rights and the Environment Blog [Blog Post] 04.04.2022. https://novabhre.novalaw.unl.pt/applying-the-oecd-guidelines-for-multinational-enterprises-to-non-governmental-organisations-ngos-an-analysis-of-the-national-contact-points-caselaw/
First paragraph: To what extent, if at all, do the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises apply to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and provide an avenue to hold them accountable for human rights abuses? This is a pertinent question for a few reasons. First, there have been a number of scandals involving NGOs, revealing negative human rights impacts on the communities they work with and for, notably the 2018 Oxfam GB sexual abuse scandal in Haiti and, more recently, the accusations against the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) of facilitating abuses of indigenous groups in Southeast Cameroon. Second, NGOs are under-regulated in international law. In particular, there is no international instrument that outlines the human rights responsibilities of NGOs. Third, NGOs bear similarities with corporations. Some NGOs engage in business activities to achieve their non-profit aims and have transnationalised their organizational structure in a way comparable to multinational business enterprises. Fourth, as documented below in greater detail, an emerging caselaw, developed by different National Contact Points (NCPs), considers whether the OECD Guidelines should apply to NGOs.