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26 Jun 2017

Samentha Goethals, Joseph Bardwell, Mariam Bhacker, & Bahaa Ezzelarab, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre in Business & Human Rights Journal

Business human rights responsibility for refugees & migrant workers: Turning policies into practice in the Middle East

...Our focus in this piece is to consider how companies have been implementing their human rights responsibility to address the risks and challenges faced by refugees and migrant workers in the Middle East, a region that is currently experiencing unprecedented population movements. It draws on two case studies from recent research by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) on: (1) migrant construction workers in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); and (2) Syrian refugees in garment supply-chains in Turkey.
By adopting a mixed methods research approach that includes fieldwork, company surveys and benchmarking, these cases reveal that there is still a long way to go for global businesses to fulfil their potential to help generate economic security and realize the basic rights of migrant workers and refugees to decent and fair work. In both cases, we found small clusters of leading companies and larger groups of laggards. The piece concludes with a reflection on combining increased transparency with scrutiny and benchmarking to create a ‘race to the top’, and makes recommendations for human rights due diligence to prevent exploitation and discrimination against refugees and migrant workers...