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Global Compact Network Australia describes voices of campaigners as "critical" & calls for open civic space

Author: Kylie Porter, Global Compact Network Australia, Published on: 25 November 2019

“Statement: Supporting an open Australian civic space for all stakeholders”, 21 November 2019

An open civic space…is not only good for a democratic society, it is good for business…, [providing] an “early warning system” for business to better understand the concerns that various stakeholders may have about their operations, allowing them to manage risks in full consultation with the people most likely to be affected. It also provides the space for multi-stakeholder dialogue and the ability to forge partnerships for more sustainable solutions…

[Global Compact Network Australia] does not condone violent protests and…understand[s] the pressures that business…may feel when they are the subject of a campaign. However, the voices of campaigners are one of many critical voices that need to be heard as we transition and decarbonise our economies by 2050. [Global Compact Network Australia] works alongside diverse groups…to support dialogue that enhances responsible business practices around human rights, labour rights, environment and anti-corruption. We know that to bring these groups together the civic space must be safeguarded…and…we provide a forum where we can discuss the solutions that will enable us to reach more equitable outcomes...

[We] encourage…respectful dialogue and engagement between business, civil society,…human rights campaigners, and government…, call on all businesses to consider what policies and practices they can implement to ensure they are respecting the human rights of all campaigners, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…., call on business to consider…mechanisms they can use to listen more intensely to the views of their [stakeholders and]…shareholders…[about]…how business should manage…risks [and] encourage governments everywhere to respect and protect the internationally recognised human rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression…

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