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Canada: Updated guidelines on supporting defenders strongly reference defenders working on business issues

Author: Government of Canada, Published on: 18 June 2019

"Voices at Risk: Canada’s Guidelines on Supporting Human Rights Defenders", 17 Jun 2019

...Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) refers to people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights through peaceful means, such as by documenting and calling attention to violations or abuses by governments, businesses, individuals or groups... HRDs can be individuals of any background – community members, Indigenous leaders, workers, activists, students, business executives, journalists, and whistleblowers... Non-state actors, such as businesses, individuals and groups, including criminal organizations or terrorist groups, may also target HRDs because of their work, often with the approval of governments, whether tacit or explicit... [I]n contexts where the activities of private enterprises are challenged by community members or corruption is being exposed, HRDs may be subject to targeted attacks to silence opposition and halt their work... Canada’s support for HRDs takes many forms and responds to changing needs:.. [including] [l]everaging partnerships with other countries, civil society, Indigenous peoples and the private sector, including Canadian business interests abroad, and building capacity, including through funding...and [through] [p]romoting responsible business conduct... [T]he International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, along with the UN, have reported that Indigenous HRDs are experiencing increased criminalization and violations and abuses of their rights... 

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