Latest news: CEO activism and other positive business initiatives to protect civic freedoms

The main elements of a safe and enabling environment for civil society organizations (CSOs) and human rights defenders (HRDs) are the respect for basic freedoms, strong compliance with the rule of law, removal of all obstacles for registration and operation, end to all forms of impunity, and free access to remedy and redress mechanisms. All these are the same elements that are conducive for healthy environments in which to conduct business and investments. The fates of CSOs, HRDs, and companies are closely intertwined.

Human rights, labour rights and environmental defenders, journalists, lawyers, and anti-corruption campaigners are key agents of change, and they contribute greatly to safeguarding human rights and the rule of law. As such, both companies and defenders have a shared interest in the full respect of freedoms of expression, association and assembly, characterised by non-discrimination, transparent and accountable government, and freedom from corruption.

However, the operating context for CSOs and HRDs has become, and continues to become increasingly restrictive and dangerous in many countries. These countries include those in which companies operate and invest. More and more companies understand that they can have a powerful voice in the protection of civic freedoms, especially where abuses are taking place linked to their industry and/or operations. Below are some of these recent examples of emerging good practices and drivers of such actions.

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10 June 2019

Leading global business association amfori releases statement in support of human rights defenders

Author: amfori - Trade with purpose (Belgium)

"Statement in Support of Human Rights Defenders", Jun 2019...

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7 June 2019
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La empresa Phillip Morris, que compró las plantas de la Compañía Colombiana de Tabaco, Coltabaco en 2005, anunció que, por un lado, dejará de comprar tabaco a los productores agrícolas a partir de 2020 y por otro, el cierre de las fábricas en Medellín...

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Story
16 May 2019
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Tras reiteradas amenazas de muerte, hostigamientos y persecución contra líderes de organizaciones de mujeres, sindicatos y grupos sociales que trabajan por los derechos humanos de la población en los departamentos de La Guajira y el Cesar, lugares...

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Article
14 May 2019

Members of Dutch agreement on sustainable garments and textile sign letter to Cambodian govt. to express concerns on labour & human rights situation in textile industry

Author: Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garments and Textile (The Netherlands)

"Clothing brands sign letter to Cambodia government after concerning developments", 06 May 2019...

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Article
13 May 2019

USA: Film production cos. CEOs boycott Georgia in response to abortion law restrictive of women's rights

Author: Lisa Respers France, CNN (USA)

"3 production companies say they won't film in Georgia after abortion law signed", 13 May 2019...

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Article
7 May 2019

Virgin CEO & 20 other executives sign onto initiative in support of LBGT+ rights; urge other businesses to follow suit

Author: Hugo Greenhalgh, Thomson Reuters Foundation

"Billionaire Branson urges business to back LGBT+ rights", 2 May 2019...

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6 May 2019

Banks ban employees from staying at sultan of Brunei-owned hotels in response to new law punishing homosexual sex & adultery with death

Media reports that multinational banks are banning their employees from staying at hotels owned by the sultan of Brunei after the Southeast Asian country announced a new law imposing death by stoning for those convicted of gay sex, adultery, and rape....

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1 May 2019

USA: Businesses urge Tennessee lawmakers not to pass legislation that could allow discrimination against LGBTQ people

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Article
30 April 2019

Clooney Foundation for Justice: TrialWatch

Author: Clooney Foundation for Justice

"TrialWatch website" , Apr 2019...

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Story
30 April 2019

Microsoft announces artificial intelligence powered project to help monitor unfair trials & create pressure on govts.

In many countries, trials are used as instruments of oppression to silence and target human rights defenders and other critics of governments and businesses. Microsoft announced a partnership with Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) to help advance...

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