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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Article
3 May 2018

World Press Freedom day: United Nations & news companies join forces to promote high-quality journalism

Author: Brian Stelter, CNN (US)

'Read more, listen more:' Newsrooms unite for World Press Freedom Day' 3 May 2018...

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Article
13 April 2018

Company lobbying for lower taxes exceeds social activism, Oxfam America claims

Author: Oxfam America (US)

"Corporations Increasingly Vocal on Social Issues but Still Mostly Lobbying for Lower Taxes" 12 Apr 2018...

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Article
12 April 2018
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Author: Andesco

“Estas son las 360 organizaciones inscritas en el Premio Andesco de Sostenibilidad”...

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Article
11 April 2018

Nordic food companies say verdict against Andy Hall is harmful to Thailand as exporting country & emphasize importance of free civil society

Author: Axfood (Sweden), Axfoundation (Sweden), Coop (Sweden), Findus (Sweden), Ethical Trading Initiative (Norway), Martin & Servera (Sweden), Menigo (Sweden), Norvida (Sweden), SOK (Finland), Unil (Norway)

"Nordic food companies’ comment on the Court decision 26th March 2018 regarding defamation case against human rights advocate Andy Hall", 11 Apr 2018...

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Article
10 April 2018

S Group makes a donation to support defender Andy Hall's appeal of court decision

Author: Lea Rankinen, S Group (Finland)

"Freedom of action for human rights defenders must be safeguarded", 08 April 2018 At the end of March the Thai court ordered human rights defender Andy Hall to pay 260 000 Eur in compensation for the defamation to Natural Fruit company. We are upse...

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Article
8 April 2018

Ethical Trading Initiative UK says verdict against Andy Hall damages "Brand Thailand"

Author: Nick Kightley, Ethical Trading Initiative (UK)

"Damaging ‘Brand Thailand’: Reaction to court ruling against labour rights advocate, Andy Hall", 28 Mar 2018...

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Article
8 April 2018

Leading global business association AMFORI (formerly Foreign Trade Association) expresses concern over verdict against defender Andy Hall by Thai court

Author: AMFORI (Belgium)

"Andy Hall Verdict: Human Rights Defender Found Guilty of Defamation", 30 Mar 2018...

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Article
3 April 2018

The B Team & BSR launch Business Action Platform to support business leaders & companies to help protect human rights

Author: The B Team & BSR

"Mobilizing the private sector: introducing Business Action Platform for Human Rights," 29 March 2018...

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Article
30 March 2018

USA: Companies pull advertisements from Fox News television host Laura Ingraham's program after she insulted Parkland school shooting survivor

Author: Kevin Breuninger, CNBC

"Advertisers - including TripAdvisor, Nestle, Wayfair and Hulu - are dumping Laura Ingraham after she slammed Parkland survivor," 29 March 2018...

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Article
23 March 2018

Cambodia: Apparel groups warn restrictions on freedom of association will make Cambodia unattractive & expensive place to do business

Author: Daphne Chen, The Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia)

"Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen",  21 Mar 2018...

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