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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15 October 2018

Major news organisations and business leaders withdraw from Saudi investment conference over missing journalist

On October 2, 2018, prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi, a once royal advisor turned critic, was murdered by Saudi agents in the consultate. Khashoggi's case prompted a...

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3 October 2018

Consumers increasingly boycott products & services if they disagree with business' stance on important issues

Author: Marjorie Benzkofer, Fleishman Hillard (USA)

"Navigating Zero Gravity", Oct 3 2018...

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2 October 2018

Rights CoLab & DLA Piper make the business case for protection of civic freedoms & support of civil society

Author: Ed Rekosh, Rights CoLab & Lamin Khadar, DLA Piper

"The Business Case for Civil Society", Sep 2018...

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28 September 2018

USA: #VoteTogether campaign calls on cos. to encourage & support voting

Author: Sara Weinstein & Sarah Gwilliam, Civic Nation in Forbes (USA)

"More Businesses Are Encouraging Voting. Here's How You Can, Too.", 26 Sep 2018...

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24 September 2018

USA: Former Microsoft executive argues for cos. to urgently act to advance opportunity for all, in time of deep distress

Author: Jeff Raikes (Raikes Foundation & former Microsoft)

"We Need Corporate America in the Fight for Justice", 05 Sep 2018...

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20 September 2018

Commentary: Corporations increasingly under pressure to take a stand on social issues

Author: Tom McCarthy, The Guardian

"Woke business: have big brands found a conscience or a marketing ploy?" 16 Sept 2018...

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11 September 2018

Germany: Siemens urges employees to speak out against xenophobia & discrimination following protests; co. says principles are vital for business

Author: Ivana Kottasová, CNN Money

"Siemens warns of dangers of xenophobia after violent protests in Germany", 5 Sep 2018...

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11 September 2018

HRW launches campaign urging major car companies to stand by Saudi activists jailed for advocating women's right to drive

Author: Human Rights Watch

"Tell Car Companies To Do The Right Thing", 11 September 2018...

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7 September 2018

USA: Nike sparks controversy by making activist Colin Kaepernick face of campaign

Author: Kevin Draper & Ken Belson, The New York Times (USA)

"Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Campaign Keeps N.F.L. Anthem Kneeling in Spotlight", 03 Sep 2018...

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29 August 2018

New guidance for companies encourages action to support civic freedoms & human rights defenders & explores opportunities for engagement

Author: Bennett Freeman with Sif Thorgeirsson, Adele Barzelay & Brooks Reed

"Shared space under pressure: Business support for civic freedoms and human rights defenders," 29 August 2018 ...

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