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Swedwatch briefing explores impacts of COVID-19 on civic space & defenders & calls on investors to implement a zero-tolerance policy on attacks

"Investor briefing: The role of investors in supporting human rights and environmental defenders in the Covid-19 era," 11 Nov 2020

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the already alarming situation for defenders has worsened in several ways, further endangering defenders. This brief argues that thorough identification and assessment of risks related to defenders should be a priority for investors who are committed to respecting and advancing human rights.

... Governments have used Covid-19 to arbitrarily restrict basic freedoms and to crack down on civil society... The risk of retaliations against labour right defenders has increased during the pandemic, including against workers raising concerns about labour standards or health and safety conditions at work... The risk of surveillance technology being used in a way which threatens human rights and defenders has increased...

... Swedwatch calls on all investors to, at a minimum:

  • Adopt and implement a zero-tolerance policy and approach against attacks on defenders in business relationships, agreements, and investment decision-making...
  • Communicate human rights expectations in their business relationships...
  • Consider withdrawing investment when leverage or engagement fail to address adverse human rights impacts on defenders...
  • Express public support for defenders...