ABN AMRO's conference focuses on business role in improving situation of civic freedoms & human rights defenders

ABN AMRO, a leading Dutch bank, organized a conference entitled 'Civic Freedom and Human Rights Defenders: What Is the Role of Business?'. The event was organised in collaboration with the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) and the focus of it was the organizations' joint report, 'Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders'. The report examines the role that companies can play, providing practical examples in various countries and sectors. An article and a video from the conference are available below.

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16 July 2019

ABN AMRO's conference highlights importance of civic freedoms & human rights defenders & business role in protection

Author: ABN AMRO

"ABN AMRO gives human rights defenders a platform", Jul 2019

Human rights are under threat in many countries around the world. Freedom of expression, freedom of the press and trade union rights are increasingly curtailed...On 24 June, ABN AMRO invited a number of companies, NGOs, government representatives, academics and frontline human rights defenders to discuss the role of the business community in improving the situation. Civic freedoms like the right to demonstrate are important, since they empower people to speak out against injustice. Governments and companies don’t always welcome such dissent, however... According to...Front Line Defenders, 321...defenders were murdered last year... Protecting human rights defenders and civic freedoms is an important issue at ABN AMRO. “Take freedom of speech...” [said] Maria Anne van Dijk,...ABN AMRO’s human rights programme [lead]. “Anyone who feels it’s important to speak out against abuses and injustices must be given the chance – the right – to do so.” The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which ABN AMRO...endorsed, state that protecting human rights primarily is the responsibility of governments. A company should not be allowed to infringe on those rights – by bringing a lawsuit for defamation against someone who criticises it, for example. Companies, too, must respect human rights... Dialogue with human rights defenders is...the key focus of our conference.” 

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16 July 2019

Video: ABN AMRO gives human rights defenders a platform