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BankTrack briefing paper: How banks contribute to human rights violations

8 Dec 2017

... The responsibility to respect human rights, as defined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“the Guiding Principles”), requires that business enterprises: (a) avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own activities, and address such impacts when they occur; and (b) seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts... We consider that... banks can and unfortunately do contribute to human rights violations when providing financial products and services, and that while such occasions may not represent a high proportion of a bank’s transactions, in absolute number they are rather common, and their impact is significant.

... This paper... present[s] examples of actual cases in which banks are likely to have contributed to human rights abuses through their finance in our analysis... Recommendations for banks [include]... recognise the principle,... ensure there is remedy,... improve due diligence, and be prepared to walk away,... [and] engage constructively and seek guidance. 

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