Four main lessons for engaging businesses in support of civic freedoms & defenders

Author: Mauricio Lazala & Ana Zbona, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in OXFAM Views & Voices, Published on: 21 January 2019

"Should companies act when civic freedoms are under attack?", 21 Jan 2018

Civic freedoms are being eroded around the world... [W]e have tracked over 1,400 attacks against activists working on human rights issues related to business since 2015. Many companies have been exposed as being complicit, aiding and abetting, or even directly involved in these attacks... [N]o company and their investors can afford to be bystanders. The concept of a ‘shared space’ argues that companies, as well as civil society, depend upon civic freedoms..There are a growing number of examples of good practices from leading companies: Last year, Adidas, Nike and other global brands urged the Cambodian Government to drop politically-motivated criminal charges against labour rights activists, and showed their support for freedom of association...We can offer four main lessons to civil society, for engaging businesses to make change happen in this area: Recognise that companies are all different,... Base calls for action on reliable data,... Empower defenders and civil society [and] Involve employees, investors, multi stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) and business associations... [Refers to adidas, Apple, BMW, Daimler, DESA, Google, Nike, Microsoft, Siemens,and Twitter]. 

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Related companies: Alphabet Apple BMW Daimler Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA) Google (part of Alphabet) Microsoft Nike Siemens Twitter