Business and human rights: main challenges for new democracies

Panel discussion


Olena Uvarova

Ph.D in Law, lecturer in the Theory of Law Department, Head of the International Lab on business and human rights in the National Law University of Yaroslav Mudriy. Dr. Uvarova is the author of more than 80 scientific papers on the theory of law, human rights, gender equality, anti-discrimination policy, business and human rights. Since 2014, […]

Ganna Khrystova

Candidate of legal sciences (2004), associate professor on the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law, National Law University named after Yaroslav the wise (from 2008), managing national implementation of the Council of Europe Projects “Strengthening Human Rights Protection of IDPs in Ukraine” (2016-2018), project manager of “Internal Displacement in Ukraine: Building Solutions” (from April […]

Iryna Fedorovych

Iryna Fedorovych – Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Center for Social Action, Co-Chair of the Coordination Council of the Anti-Discrimination Coalition in Ukraine, co-author and author of many manuals on combating and preventing discrimination for civil servants, police, activists and trainers. Ms. Fedorovych is manager on her first degree and human rights specialist […]






In cooperation with the NGO “DRA” (Berlin) in the framework of “Working Group on Women and Gender Realities in the OSCE Region” of the “Civic Solidarity Platform”, namely the project “Strengthening Civil Society Cooperation in the OSCE Region in Regards to Security, Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Gender Equality”, with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany

Panel discussion program

Side events:





The main goal of the Panel discussion is to develop model of the implementation of renowned human rights and business standards in the post-Soviet region.

Background. Business & Human Rights (BHR) have acquired the particular relevance during the last decade. The logic of this framework entails that business actors have an important impact on the enjoyment of human rights by people within the field of their modus operandi, and must therefore consider the risks that their operations might create and that can violate or contribute to violating human rights. The UN BHR framework does not introduce any legally binding instruments for business specific obligations at this moment. However, it does make it clear that business actors must respect human rights.

According to the classical approach to legal regulation, the state is considered as the only institution that has obligations in the field of human rights. Nonetheless, during the second half of XX century, under influence of various processes, globalization foremost, the influence of non-state actors on human rights has become more and more noticeable. Today “it is absolutely obvious that companies – despite being  local or multinational, public or private – have a great influence on human rights, both positive and negative. The influence of business on human rights can interfere with different actors – workers, migrants, vulnerable groups (children, disabled, elderly etc) – in many ways (discrimination, exploitation, harm to environment etc) and in all sorts of economic activity (agriculture, textile industry, oil and gas extracting industry, financial, educational and medic services etc).”

Gradually, a legal concept had been developed, which is expressed in UN documents, EU directives, Council of Europe resolutions, court decisions, in the national law of many countries of the world. Concept of business and human rights.

However, if developed democracies with sustainable traditions of human rights protection, respect for economic freedoms, a deep understanding of the principles of interaction between the state, business and civil society and the need for a reasonable balance between the respective social values are ready for such a new stage in the development of the concept of human rights, the new democracies who are in the difficult period of transition to the new legal regulation model which based on the human rights approach demonstrate their weakness both at the doctrinal level and at the practical level.

Today, the need to summarize the experience of the developed democracies in a reasonable balancing of the obligations of the state and business in the field of human rights, to develop effective legal mechanisms for protecting human rights from business’s violations, especially in situations where the state can not offer such mechanism, is extremely urgent. 

For new democracies, in addition to the disclosure of general issues, special attention should be paid to the following issues:

  1. The role of business in promoting democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development;
  2. Risks and dangers related to the such problems of new democracies as lack of stable democratic traditions, high level of corruption, distrust of the population to legal mechanisms for solving problems, lack of development of the economy;
  3. The low level of society tolerance to vulnerable groups as a particular problem for post-Soviet countries which is significantly reflected in business practices, the deep rooting of the patriarchal culture, which is often supported by business;
  4. The role of business for the protection of human rights in a conflict and post-conflict period which is topical issue for Ukraine now.


A preliminary analysis of existing experience in implementing business standards and human rights in practice discovers several significant gaps:

І. The lack of comparative studies of different countries experience of the BHR implementation. 

ІІ. The lack in the countries of new democracy is not only official documents (practices at the state level) regarding the implementation of business and human rights standards, but also the appropriate doctrinal basis, as well as relevant initiatives from the civil society. 

III. The lack of awareness and building capacity of various stakeholder groups in post-Soviet countries. This is particularly important, because there is an urgent need to increase the level of knowledge on business and human rights (first of all, for lawyers). 

Side events are covered by the general umbrella – Vulnerable Individuals, Groups And Communities: Corporate Responsibility To Respect. Series of round tables and open discussions will be held 26-28 September 2019. The main purpose of this part of the Forum is discuss the findings of the National Baseline Assessment on Business and Human Rights in Ukraine and to develop recommendations for the National Action Plan. The main focuses of the discussion: people with disabilities, women, children, IDP, Roma, LGBTIQ, older people, rural communities.

We are open for proposals to include to the Agenda of the Forum other events on Business and Human Rights issues.

Participation in the Panel discussion and side events is free. Organizers will not cover travel and accommodation costs of participants.

Forum’s registration will be opened soon. But you can register now by writing a letter to the coordinator. Please contact Olena Uvarova (, Coordinator of the Panel discussion, if you need any additional information.

Call for papers

A collection of abstracts and articles of the participants (participation can be remote) will be published before the Forum’s start. It will be distributed among the participants. Languages of publication are English and Ukrainian.

Those wishing to apply to publication should submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to or (Olena Uvarova, coordinator of the Panel Discussion) with the subject line BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: MAIN CHALLENGES FOR NEW DEMOCRACIES or VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS AND COMMUNITIES: CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY TO RESPECT. Include your name, affiliation, contact information, short curriculum vitae. The deadline for submission of abstracts is 15 June 2018. Scholars whose submissions have been selected will be notified by June 20 and full papers must be submitted by August 20.

Here we present Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University and our partners` accomplishments related to business and human rights:

A greeting from Michael Santoro on the completion of National basic assessment in the business and human rights sphere:

September 25, 2019
9:30am – 6:30pm
Library&Learning Center of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Conference Hall, 10th floor
9 hours


Michael A. Santoro

World-renowned business ethics teacher, scholar and consultant. He is a Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. Previously he was a Professor at Rutgers Business School for two decades. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard University, a J.D. from New York University, and an […]

Sergey Sayapin

Dr. Sayapin teaches and researches in the areas of international and criminal law, and is among Central Asia’s leading experts on international conflict and security law. He regularly advises the ICRC, UNODC and Central Asian States’ authorities on international law issues, and appears in national and international mass media. Dr. Sayapin is the founding Editor-in-Chief […]

Ganna Khrystova

Candidate of legal sciences (2004), associate professor on the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law, National Law University named after Yaroslav the wise (from 2008), managing national implementation of the Council of Europe Projects “Strengthening Human Rights Protection of IDPs in Ukraine” (2016-2018), project manager of “Internal Displacement in Ukraine: Building Solutions” (from April […]

Tara Van Ho

Lecturer in the University of Essex School of Law and Human Rights Centre, where she currently serves as the Director of the post-graduate taught programmes in human rights. A core member of the Essex Business and Human Rights Project, her research primarily focuses on issues of business and human rights in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict […]

Annemarie Sancar

For ten years she was gender focal point for Swiss Cooperation and Development of the Foreign Ministry, where she started a long term initiative for gender-responsive budgeting, she also promoted gender aspects in the sector of the local economy, entrepreneurship and credit systems. She figured as an expert on gender and peace for Swisspeace (Swiss […]

Kateryna Levchenko

Governmental Commissioner for Gender Policy. Ph.D., Professor. For more than 20 years Kateryna has been the head of the NGO «La Strada-Ukraine». Deputy of Ukrainian Parliament of the 5th convocation, member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE (2006-2007). Author and initiator of improvement laws on prevention of domestic violence, strengthening of protection children, introduction […]

Dirk Hoffmann

Senior Adviser, Danish Institute for Human Rights. With a background in international human rights and specifically international labour law, Dirk Hoffmann has spent almost a decade working in the field of business and human rights. Having spent the majority of that time at the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) – Denmark’s National Human Rights […]

Vladyslav Vlasiuk

General Director of the Directorate for Human Rights, Access to Justice and Legal Awareness of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. He is a co-founder of the TWIN LAWYERS Bar Association (April 2017). He is a co-founder and an expert in the LEAD office (September 2016 – December 2017). He was the Chief of Staff […]

Heidi Meinzolt

Member of the Board of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom / WILPF (, responsible for Europe. In Germany, she is a founding member of the “Women’s security Council” promoting the implementation of UNSCR1325 and the Women-Peace-and Security Agenda/WPS. Since 2016, she coordinates the Working Group on Women&Gender realities in the Civic Solidarity Platform/CSP […]

Luisa Del Turco

International Cooperation Advisor – Gender, Peace and Security Policies Expert. Works for Academies,  peacebuilding NGOs, and humanitarian Agencies in the fields of research and training for peace and humanitarian workers, on conflict management/transformation and gender approach. Qualified Advisor to the Armed Forces in International Humanitarian Law. Director of Civilian Defence Research Center (CSDC). Member of Italian MOFA’s […]

Olena Stepanenko

Representative of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights in issues related to adhering to social-economic and humanitarian rights.

Yevhenii Shakotko

Government Expert of the Directorate of Human Rights, Access to Justice and Legal Awareness of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Mater of Laws. Before joining the Directorate’s team, Yevhenii worked for international law firms and in the Parliament of Canada. Yevhenii coordinated the National Basic Assessment “Business and Human Rights in Ukraine”.

Beata Faracik

Co-founder and President of the Board of the Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business. Leading Polish expert specialized in Human Rights & Business and Corporate Social Responsibility with over 15 years of professional experience and experience of working in public, private and NGO sectors in various countries, including: Ministry of Justice (Poland), Ministry of […]

Mariam Jajanidze

As a lawyer with expertise in international law, Mariam started her work at the Secretariat of Government Administration of Georgia. in 2014. Mariam’s working areas include criminal justice, right to fair trial, prosecutor’s office, protection of human rights in penitentiary system, elimination of torture and ill-treatment, gender equality, rights of persons with disabilities, anti-discrimination issues […]

Robert Khorolskyy

Robert Khorolskyy got his Ph.D. in law from Yaroslav the Wise National Law University (Kharkiv, Ukraine) in 2001, where he later taught public international law and European Union law. After studying European law at the College of Europe (Bruges, Belgium), he worked as a legal expert at the Ukrainian-European Policy and Legal Advice Centre (UEPLAC – […]

Victoria Scheyer

Victoria Scheyer holds a Master Degree in International Peace Studies from the University for Peace mandated by the United Nations. She currently works for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in Germany with her field of expertise in Feminist Foreign Policy and Women, Peace and Security agenda. Victoria Scheyer is part of […]

Thank you for registration!!

Dear Colleague,

Thank you for registering to attend the ІІІ Kharkiv International Legal Forum.

We look forward to your participation. An official invitation would soon be sent to your email. Any queries, please email to

See you at IІI Kharkiv International Legal Forum on September 24-28, 2019!

Co-Chairman of Organizing Committee
Rector of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University
Vasyl Tatsii