Janelle M. Diller, J.D.

Independent Counsel, geneva


WITH Janelle M. Diller, J.D.

Practice Experience

Janelle Diller concentrates her practice on international aspects of social and environmental governance, focusing on labour and human rights compliance in international trade and investment, business operations, labour migration and supply chains. She offers services to government, business and trade associations and NGOs, providing guidance as a virtual in-house counsel in domestic and international contexts on internal procedures to manage contractual, regulatory, and compliance issues in international business operations, negotiating contracts and other legal transactions and mobilizing multi-stakeholder partnerships to prevent or mitigate social risks and remedy harm in supply chain operations.   She has 30 years of experience in legal counselling, transactional representation, litigation, and legislative and regulatory drafting and compliance mechanisms at international and domestic levels for public and private sector organizations.  

Dr. Diller has served as legal counsel to the International Labour Organization (ILO) where she represented and advised the ILO and its Members on the drafting and application of ILO norms, particularly in global industry contexts, and instigated their use in human rights and trade-related contexts and in ISO and private industry standards. She has boosted the role of labour in global cooperation for development, trade, investment, migration, and business responsibility by negotiating cooperation agreements with UN agencies, the World Bank and OECD and other international organizations. Her lead in designing public private partnerships with businesses, unions and NGOs includes the successful innovation of a US$30 million Arrangement among global and local actors for remediation of 3600+ worker injuries and deaths from a global supply chain accident in Bangladesh.  Dr. Diller has worked extensively in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America with businesses, governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations on various international labour, trade and investment, and human rights issues. 

Janelle has served as an international legal expert facilitating ground-breaking advances in global law and practice by her analyses of the social effects of foreign investment across 100 countries, the content and implementation of 215+ business initiatives relating to labour standards, policies on migrants' rights in more than 50 national contexts of irregular situations of cross-border labour as well as forced labour practices in countries with privatized prisons.  Her documentation of forced and child labour and other rights risks in national and supply chain contexts has led to legal and policy reforms.  She provided international law guidance to the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization and co-authored the UN analysis of international human rights law leading to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.  She also served for several years as Legal Director to the International Human Rights Law Group in Washington, D.C. where she successfully advocated for fewer reservations upon US ratification of international treaties  on civil and political rights and race discrimination, instigated the use of human rights law in emerging democracies' constitutional and statutory reforms, and appeared in human rights cases before UN bodies, and Inter-American and US courts. 

In addition to her work as a lawyer, Janelle has taught in international law as the Paul Martin Sr. Professor of International Affairs and Law at the University of Windsor (Canada) and at the University of St. Thomas (Minneapolis).  She has also taught as Senior Lecturer at the University of Bern (Switzerland), and the University of Virginia, and as Adjunct Professor at Georgetown, George Washington and other US law schools. Her recent appointments include a Fulbright Research Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice and a Max Planck Scholar post at the Max Planck Institute of Comparative Public and International Law (Heidelberg).  She has published widely on international labour and human rights issues in business and trade contexts, including a book featured by the United Nations Library as one of six English Research Guides in English to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.   


J.D. cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 1984.

M.A. summa cum laude (equivalent), Journalism, Syracuse University, 1979.

B.A. magna cum laude, Wheaton College, 1977.


English, French, Spanish

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