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25 Mar 2021

The Rafto Foundation

Norway: Report highlights global threats to human rights defenders, role of business in upholding human rights & combating modern slavery, and need for Norwegian human rights due diligence

'Annual Report 2020', 25 March 2021

2020 did not turn out as planned, for anyone. The global Covid-19 crisis is not just a health crisis, but also a human rights crisis. Emergency laws have been used to suppress human rights defenders. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 83 countries have introduced laws restricting freedom of expression. This often occurs where civil societiy is already under pressure. At the same time, human rights defenders have started to use new and creative tools to be able to continue their work...

The Rafto Foundation continued its targeted efforts to support our Rafto Laureates in a crisis hit Lebanon, in Poland where the pressure on the constitutional state is only growing and in Kashmir where the persecution of human rights defenders is simply alarming... and highlighted the human rights situation in ... Belarus, Iraq, Uganda, China and India...

Together with businesses, we have continued to develop our sector-specific work in the finance, seafood, construction and maritime industries... 2020 saw the launch of FUTURE-PROOF, a regional collaboration platform for business and human rights... The KAN coalition, which is campaigning to establish Norwegian human rights due diligence legislation for business and which the Rafto Foundation helped found, was officially launched in autumn 2020 with a number of Norwegian businesses as members. The development aid programme to combat modern slavery, to which the Rafto Foundation has contributed, was launched and represents a welcome boost to Norwegian initiatives in this area...