Civic freedom and human rights defenders: what is the role of business?

Event | 24 June | Amsterdam

On behalf of ABN AMRO, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), it is our pleasure to invite you to the event "Civic freedom and human rights defenders: what is the role of business?" on 24 June at Circl in Amsterdam.

By  some estimates, only 3% of people on the planet live in a world with a truly open ‘civic space’. Freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are becoming increasingly restricted. Threats, assaults, intimidation and killings of human rights defenders are on the rise. This is a major problem in itself, and it also impairs the ability of corporations to respect human rights.

The event brings together businesses, government, trade unions, NGOs and frontline human rights defenders to explore why and how companies should support civic freedoms, civil society and human rights defenders.

It draws upon the report “Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders”, commissioned by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and ISHR. Speakers will address the normative responsibility for companies to act in certain circumstances; the business case and the moral choice that should inform company action. Recent examples of company action will be highlighted across different geographic contexts and sectors, and challenges and opportunities for companies.

If you would like to attend the event please send an email to [email protected]

12.00 – 13.00                 Registration and lunch
13:00 – 14:00                 Keynotes
14:00 – 14:30                 Coffee break
14.30 – 17.00                 Panel discussions
17.00 – 18.00                 Drinks

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Human rights defenders from Zambia, Kenya and Colombia
  • Bennett Freeman, author of the ‘Shared Space under Pressure’ report
  • Eduard Nazarski, Director Amnesty International Netherlands
  • Rutger Goethart, Manager International Labour Relations at HEINEKEN
  • Karen Brouwer, Director Mondiaal FNV
  • Joël Frijhoff, Responsible Sourcing and Trading Manager at Vattenfall

A more detailed programme will be shared two weeks before the event. We hope to see you on Monday 24 June at Circl.