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Commentary: "No more ‘business as usual’ when it comes to business and human rights defenders"
Author: Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, on Intl. Service for Human Rights, Published on: 21 October 2015
"No more ‘business as usual’ when it comes to business and human rights defenders", 19 Oct 2015
As part of this commitment I conducted consultations with over 500 human rights defenders from over 110 States from all regions of the world. As my recent report to the UN General Assembly records, one of the categories of defenders which emerged as most at risk in all regions was those working in the business and human rights, including those working on land and environment rights... These threats, risks and restrictions range from surveillance, to stigmatisation, to the inappropriate and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, especially those protesting the activities of the extractives industries...The particular vulnerability of human rights defenders working in the field of business and human rights arises from three key factors. The first is the false dichotomy often propagated between development on the one hand and respect for human rights on the other...The second vulnerability factor is that [this work involves] promoting transparency, exposing violations and combating corruption...The third vulnerability factor...is the weakness in regulation of many non-State actors, both at the national and international levels...In my recent report to the UN General Assembly I made a number of recommendations to both States and businesses intended to respond to these factors... Corporations, States and the UN human rights system alike must recognise the vital role of human rights defenders in promoting corporate responsibility and accountability and support and protect them in this crucial work...