Business, HRDs & Civic freedoms: Analysis & infographics
Since 2015, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has been collecting data on attacks on human rights defenders, focusing on business sectors and specific businesses. Our infographics and briefings show patterns of violence, identify at-risk business sectors and geographic areas, provide guidance for business & investors as well as in-depth analysis of some specific types of attacks, such as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs).
Briefings & reports
Business and human rights defenders in Southeast Asia
Between 2015 and 2021, we recorded more than 4,200 attacks on human rights defenders (HRDs) raising concerns about business-related human rights abuses. During this seven-year period, Asia-Pacific and Latin America have consistently been the two most dangerous regions for HRDs focused on business and nearly a quarter of all attacks globally (22% or 916 attacks) have occurred in Southeast Asia. In 2021, three out of the four most dangerous countries for HRDs in Asia-Pacific were located in Southeast Asia: the Philippines, Cambodia and Indonesia.
Protector not prisoner: Exploring the rights violations & criminalization of Indigenous Peoples in climate actions
Between January 2015 and August 2022, we tracked 883 attacks on Indigenous human rights defenders, including killings, threats, arbitrary detention, and strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). Nearly all (95%) of attacks against Indigenous defenders between January 2015 – August 2022 were on climate, land, and environmental defenders, compared with just two-thirds (63%) for non-Indigenous defenders. This data helps show how Indigenous peoples play an outsized role in the protection of land, water, and forests and the disproportionate risks they face.
Human rights defenders & business in 2021: Protecting the rights of people driving a just transition
Our global analysis shows that attacks against HRDs in 2021 occurred in every region of the world and in almost every business sector, with five of the most dangerous sectors relating to natural resources. Our data reveals that those driving the just transition remain under sustained attack, targeted by government, business and other non-state actors with violence, intimidation, smear campaigns and judicial harassment. In 2021 alone, we tracked 615 attacks against HRDs, including 76 killings, and 88 cases of death threats and intimidation.
- June - Business and human rights defenders in Colombia: Urgent protection needed for people defending land, territory and environment
- July - A Crucial Gap: The Limits to Official Data on Attacks Against Defenders and Why It's Concerning
- June - Africa Quarterly Update: Human Rights Defenders in Africa, threats, challenges and how to support them
Safeguarding human rights defenders: Practical Guidance for Investors
Institutional investors can be connected to harmful impacts on defenders through their investments in companies that cause, contribute to, or are directly linked to actions that undermine the rights of defenders. This publication provides institutional investors with practical guidance on how to prevent, mitigate, and address negative impacts on defenders in investment portfolios.
Strategic lawsuits against public participation: Southeast Asia cases & recommendations for governments, business & civil society
Except for the Philippines, Southeast Asian countries have no laws defining SLAPPs but all countries, except for Brunei, protect the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly in their constitutions. This Briefing Note focuses on SLAPPs in Southeast Asia and aims to amplify legal arguments and court decisions that have successfully upheld the freedoms of expression, association, and/or peaceful assembly of HRD.
Shared space under pressure: Business support for civic freedoms & Human Rights Defenders
Drawing on over 90 interviews, this guidance urges companies to engage and to act—carefully but deliberately—in their own interests and in the mutual interest that they share with civil society in support of civic freedoms and defenders. It sets forth both the normative responsibility, the business case and the moral choice that companies should consider, and proposes a decision framework to guide companies as they decide whether and if so how to act.