Business, Human Rights, and Development (13 May – 23 June, 2020)

Note: This course is also offered as part of the Professional Development Diploma on Sustainable Development and Human Rights.

Course Description

This certificate course offered by the Human Rights Center of the University for Peace will provide participants with a comprehensive outlook on the interface between business, development, and human rights. Business corporations have always been, some may argue even before the advent of the nation-state system, important drivers of economic growth. At the same time, businesses have also often been accused of engaging in activities which may lead to violations of human rights of different stakeholders. This has enabled strong critiques of their role in the overall development process. This e-learning course will critically examine this business-development-human rights nexus with a particular focus on case studies from around the world. Several questions such as the human rights obligations of businesses, the manner in which human rights are affected by businesses including during armed conflicts, the specific linkages with the right to environment and labour rights and the ever elusive solution for accountability will be examined. We will also look at the idea of corporate social responsibility within the Business and Human Rights debate. Attention will also be devoted to an analysis of the successes and challenges of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were endorsed by the Human Rights Council of UN in 2011. Participants will also learn the tools for conducting human rights and stakeholder identification and designing due diligence policies.

The course is based on a dynamic pedagogy including reading materials, video clips, case studies, and interactive webinars with the instructor.

Course Outline

  • Week 1: Human rights obligations of businesses as non-state actors
  • Week 2: Business, human rights, and armed conflicts
  • Week 3: Business and social issues: the environment and labour standards
  • Week 4: The sustainable development nexus: business, corporate social responsibility and human rights
  • Week 5: The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Week 6: Practical tools for ensuring corporate responsibility to respect human rights

Who Should Apply

The course is intended for staff members of (inter) governmental and civil society organisations involved in investment, trade and business related social issues, corporate social responsibility practitioners, practitioners in the field of development, business leaders, trade unionists, academics and others interested in the human rights performance of companies. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use.

About the Instructor

Dr. Mihir Kanade (India) is the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre and is also the Head of the Department of International Law and Human Rights at UPEACE. His principal area of academic research and study is Human Rights and Globalization, covering several themes within that interface including trade and investment, sustainable development, forced migration, indigenous peoples’ rights, public health, amongst others. He serves on the International Advisory Board of the International Bar Association on the topic of Business and Human Rights and has provided guidance on the drafting of the IBA Handbook for Lawyers on Business and Human Rights, 2017. He has extensive experience in training staff of inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as professionals, in the field of human rights. He acts as an advisor to several human rights organizations and corporations on issues related to human rights and international law. He is also an adjunct faculty at Universidad Alfonso XI El Sabio (Spain), Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), and Long Island University (United States). He has a LL.B from Nagpur University (India) and a Masters degree and PhD from UPEACE. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer in the Bombay High Court and in the Supreme Court of India, focusing on issues of fundamental human rights violations. He currently also co-leads a joint OHCHR-UPEACE project on operationalizing the right to development in the implementation of the SDGs.

Course Fee

For Certificate: Fee for taking this course is USD 600. UPEACE students and almuni enrolling for the Certificate course are entitled to 30% discount on the fee.

For Auditing: It is also possible to audit the course, in which case, participants will not receive a certificate. Auditors, however, will have access to all course material, be able to participate in the synchronous webinar sessions, and be able to monitor the online discussions of participants. The fee for auditing the course is USD 200.

For Certificate and 2 Academic Credits: Participants are also able to take the course for two academic credits offered by UPEACE. The cost of taking the course for 2 academic credits is USD 1100.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send an email to along with your CV and a short Statement of Purpose (not more than 500 words) indicating the motivation for taking the course. Applicants will be contacted within three working days of the application. The course is limited to 25 participants.


Payments may be made either by credit card or by wire transfer. Payment by wire transfer usually takes three to four business days to be deposited in our account. Payment by credit card is instant.

If you wish to make the payment by credit card, please go to

Payments by wire transfer must be made to the following bank account:

Universidad para la Paz
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
Bank account number:100-02-099-600195-4
Swift Code: BNCRCRSJ and IBAN: CR57015109910026001958
Avenidas 1 y 3, Calle 4
San José, Costa Rica