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Business actors can be powerful advocates for human rights, top UN human rights official says to business leaders before World Economic Forum

"Davos: Zeid calls on business leaders to stand up for human rights", 13 Jan 2017

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein sends a strong message to business leaders in time for Davos

The top United Nations human rights official today called on business leaders gathering at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in...Davos next week to use their considerable influence to stand up for human rights and prevent rights violations in countries where they operate. “The hard-won laws and principles of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights are increasingly imperiled, and the business leaders...have a key role to play to stem this terrible tide and to insist upon respect for human rights in the States where they operate...Responsible business relies on stability – sound institutions, the smooth functioning of justice, sustainable development and public confidence in their personal safety," Mr. Zeid said, stressing that human rights lie at the core of such long-term stability. "Companies need to take a clear, unequivocal stance that they will not tolerate links to human rights abuses anywhere in their operations and supply chains – and to have systems in place to ensure such abuses are actively prevented and promptly addressed. "

“Business actors can be powerful advocates for human rights – for the empowerment of women, for equal rights regardless of race, nationality or sexual orientation, for the rights of all to adequate housing, to an adequate standard of living, to education, healthcare and more.”

"Many companies have already begun taking steps to prevent and mitigate human rights abuses in their operations in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including by setting up ways for people to safely lodge complaints"...Many companies have also taken action to defend and promote human rights. We have seen banks withdrawing funding for projects where human rights violations have occurred, for example"...Zeid commended the steps taken by some leading companies to take a stand against media outlets peddling hate speech and xenophobic content and called on others to show similar leadership and to join in the fight for the global values that are currently under threat. 

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