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12 Apr 2021

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

New report declares human rights defenders are essential workers, highlights role of communities to fight corporate abuse

'ISHR Annual Report 2021: Supporting Humanity's Essential Workers', 30 March 2021

ISHR developed a new five-year Strategic Framework setting out the ways in which we will support and act in solidarity with defenders... The COVID-19 pandemic... exposed and deepened existing discrimination, oppression, violence and human rights violations. There have been increased threats and attacks against human rights defenders, including physical attacks and killings, online harassment, stigmatisation and defamation... COVID-19 has firmly established that human rights defenders are essential workers...

ISHR and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) collaborated with the Investor Alliance for Human Rights on a new report entitled ‘Safeguarding Human Rights Defenders: Practical Guidance for Investors'. The new report makes clear that it is in the best interests of businesses and investors to act to safeguard defenders, including trade union leaders, indigenous communities and their leaders, land and environment defenders...

[S]ometimes laws passed by governments are repressive or don’t sufficiently protect us, in particular the most vulnerable among us. And companies may act in ways that put their profit first, at the expense of human rights. Often, it takes people and communities to hold powerful politicians and corporations to account and make sure that everyone can benefit from the human rights and freedoms...