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22 Mar 2016

Annie Kelly, Guardian

Can a business ever source responsibly from a war zone?

When Harpreet Kaur, senior south Asia researcher at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, arrived in Sri Lanka...the country was just emerging from decades of brutal civil conflict....“In a country like Sri Lanka, trying to recover from a long history of conflict but already seeing a 7.5% annual economic growth, business is essential to the reconstruction of a functioning society,” she says...Yet what we found in 2010 was that this really fragile post-conflict environment was instead enabling resources to be exploited illegally by businesses. Other supply chains were getting unwittingly caught up in huge human rights issues, such as illegal land grabbing for tourism development and the intimidation of activists, which were being done on the pretext of national security....Kaur and her team quickly found that although dozens of international supply chains were sourcing from Sri Lanka’s export industries such as clothing and tea, nobody was willing to talk about human rights.