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Susan Joyce

Participation and capacity building are seen as two closely linked aspects of carrying out a human rights impact assessment (HRIA). The practice of HRIA is expanding in the private sector as acceptance of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and human rights due diligence grows. While a limited number of these assessments are published, practitioners from companies and consultants are accumulating experience on the challenges of carrying out company-commissioned HRIAs with ‘meaningful’ participation and capacity building of rights-holders. This chapter examines these challenges from a practitioner perspective, discussing some of the limitations experienced in company-commissioned HRIAs. The chapter also considers mechanisms and strategies to increase participation and capacity of rights-holders. It is suggested that opportunities to improve capacity and get to meaningful participation may be greater during and after the assessment process, arguing for conceptualizing HRIA as the start of an ongoing process rather than as a static product.