Sherpa carries out advocacy actions with policy makers and economic actors in order to change the law, public policies and practices of public and private actors in order to prevent and redress human rights abuses. The main lines of Sherpa’s advocacy are relayed particularly with the help of the various organisation’s platforms of civil society of which Sherpa is a member.


The main lines of advocacy of the Globalisation and human rights Programme

–        The parent company/ subsidiary and subcontractor’s liability

Company law is based on two principles: legal persons’ legal autonomy and limited liability. This prevents a parent or holding company from being considered legally responsible for the activities carried out in its overseas subsidiaries. Although a group of companies is an economic reality, each entity of this group, quite often registered in emerging countries, is legally isolated. This makes it impossible, from a legal point of view, to recognise the responsibilities of the parent company regarding human rights abuses and environmental violations perpetrated by its subsidiaries.

Please find here the summary of European duty of care initiatives : In the face of corporate impunity, Progress in Europe.


–        Transparency, particularly through reporting

Access to information for stakeholders (consumers, populations affected by the economic activity, unions, States, NGOs, etc.) remains low. The lack of transparency also prevents the development of qualitative practices of Socially Responsible Investment (SRI). It is therefore necessary to establish an obligation of transparency regarding the communication of information related to due diligence, particularly in conflict areas, to environmental and social impacts and to human rights on the basis of accurate, reliable and relevant indicators that are comparable among companies in the same sector and over time.

–        Access to justice

At present in France, victims of human rights abuses cannot secure compensation from parent companies for damages caused by foreign subsidiaries, sub-contractors or suppliers. In order to guarantee access to justice and to enable victims of multinational companies to initiate court proceedings in France (where the headquarters of the parent companies are located), it is therefore necessary to remove procedural obstacles.

–        Responsibility and exemplarity of the State in its investments

It is not only private economic actors that are targeted by Sherpa; public economic actors can also commit offences that may be criminally prosecuted.


The main lines of advocacy of the Illicit Financial Flows and Development Programme

– The fight against illicit financial flows in the natural resources sector, particularly through the promotion of transparency, access to information, the disclosure of beneficial owners and the fight against tax havens;


– The criminal responsibility of legal and natural persons with regard to offences such as corruption/ money laundering/ tax evasion through the adoption of dissuasive sanctions;

– The recovery of assets through “ill-gotten gains” cases and the return of such assets to the affected populations through the initiation of a reflection process at national, European and international level on how seized assets should be returned.

Last modified: 11 October 2016