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16 Nov 2020

Anita Ramasastry, Chair UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Remarks delivered by the Chair of the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights at the 2020 UN Forum High-level plenary

As Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, I am pleased to welcome you to this year’s Forum, on behalf of myself and my Working Group colleagues...

Despite current restrictions on in-person gatherings, we are grateful to be able to gather virtually and would like to thank all the speakers that are taking part, as well as everyone following from around the world. We are happy that more than three thousand people are participating globally.

We welcome the virtual presence of human rights defenders, indigenous peoples’ representatives, and community and worker representatives, and we have dedicated sessions to hear from these groups. Your voices are an inspiration and need to be at the heart of our discussions of building back better...

This year’s Forum theme is “Preventing business-related human rights abuses: The key to a sustainable future for people and planet.”

Prevention is at the core of the Guiding Principles, and their emphasis on proactive, ongoing action by States and business in fulfilling their respective duties and responsibilities.

The Working Group’s key message at this Forum is the following: The UN Guiding Principles are a key tool for prevention of negative human rights impacts and as a result are essential to a strategy for a resilient recovery...

The disproportionate negative impacts on people of colour and minorities of the pandemic and economic crisis further underline the need for the fight against racism.

We also continue to face the ongoing climate and environmental crises, shrinking civic space, populism, corruption, conflict and fragility, and the yet unknown human consequences of technological disruption...

16 June 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the Guiding Principles.

This upcoming milestone presents an opportunity to reflect on progress and challenges to date and, more importantly, to create a renewed push for scaled-up global implementation going forward...