Why Due Diligence?

The ‘due diligence principle’ mandates States to exercise due diligence to promote, protect and fulfill human rights. The due diligence principle is critical in eliminating gender discrimination including violence against women. This is because violence against women is most often perpetrated by non-State actors — for example, a close male relative or an intimate partner. Due diligence ruptured the dichotomy between State and non-State actors and the artificial ‘public/private sphere’ divide. States are not only permitted but obliged to enter the so-called ‘private sphere’ to eliminate discrimination and violence against women.

Though not on all fours with State due diligence obligations, business entities too are increasingly held to the responsibility to exercise due diligence to respect human rights and remedy adverse human rights impacts that they have caused or to which they have contributed.

Project Director

Zarizana Abdul Aziz (Malaysia)

Zarizana Abdul Aziz is a human rights lawyer and co-founder of the Due Diligence Project. Zarizana was involved in legal reform initiatives on gender equality and anti-violence reform initiatives as legislative drafter in various countries as well as training of judges, lawyers, civil society advocates, religious scholars and government officials in several countries. Most recently, she was twice shortlisted for the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice. Zarizana was Human Rights Fellow and subsequently visiting scholar at Columbia University. Zarizana was also researcher and adjunct professor at Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, USA. She is currently adjunct professor as George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.

Janine Moussa (Co-Founder ; Former Co-Director ; Current Board member)

Janine Moussa is a human rights lawyer with a specialization in women’s human rights. She currently runs her own law practice focusing on immigration. Previous work experience includes Policy Director at the Global Women’s Institute of the George Washington University; working with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women; the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States; and with IWRAW Asia Pacific, an NGO dedicated to the implement the CEDAW Convention in Asia and around the world. She is co-founder, and board member of the Due Diligence Project. Janine received her Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law of American University cum laude and her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, honors.

Advisory Committee

Charlotte Bunch, Professor, Founding Director and Senior Scholar, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University, USA. (Since 2010)

Kamala Chandrakirana, Former UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice, from Indonesia. (Since 2010)

Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (since 2019)

Pramila Patten, Former Expert, UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, from Mauritius

Cees Flinterman, Former Expert, UN Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, from the Netherlands

Hillary Charlesworth, Professor, Centre for International Governance and Justice, Australian National University, Australia

* Members of the advisory committee serve in their independent and individual capacities.

Implementing Organization

The Due Diligence Project is a project of the Due Diligence Initiative, Inc. and International Human Rights Initiative, Inc., both non-profit 501(C)(3) tax exempt public interest research-advocacy organisations. Both organisations were incorporated for the express purpose of undertaking human rights initiatives, and in particular initiatives in relation to women’s human rights.

The Due Diligence Project was initially housed at Northeastern University School of Law as part of the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE).

Our Partners

Northeastern University School of Law (with special thanks to Professor Martha Davis); Women’s Development Research Centre (KANITA), Universiti Sains Malaysia; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University, New York; Centre for Comparative and Public Law, University of Hong Kong; KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), Beirut; United Nations Latin American Institute for Crime Prevention (ILANUD), San Jose; Bahamas Crisis Centre; Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF), Sofia; Women against Violence Europe (WAVE); Centre for Egyptian Women Legal Assistance (CEWLA), Cairo; Baobab for Human Rights, Lagos; University of Pretoria, South Africa; University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; European Women’s Lobby; Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (Europe); Jordanian Women’s Union; City University of New York; Drew University, USA.