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New guidance by UN experts says protecting against corporate abuse, incl. against defenders, is an obligation of govts.

Author: Sarah M Brooks, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Published on: 26 June 2017

"Business and Human Rights | UN experts say States should step up protections, including for defenders", 26 Jun 2017

[T]here has been a sharp spike in the public coverage of killings of defender working on land and the environment, often in the context of development projects and business operations. This is echoed by...[BHRRC]...:'Our database of attacks on defenders working on business and human rights, shows there were almost 500 attacks in 2015-2016. These figures underscore the dangers of pointing to market failures and uncovering abuses in global supply chains',... [W]idespread attention...has resulted in increasing dialogue with governments about the need to protect these defenders and their communities...UN [CESCR]...decided to develop policy guidance for States, in the form of a General Comment. ‘This is a great step toward normalising the idea that business abuses don’t happen in a vacuum. They are often facilitated by State action – or even inaction’, says Sarah M Brooks, who lead ISHR’s submission to the Committee for its discussion of business and human rights,...States who have signed the treaty must take steps to prevent human rights abuses by their companies, both at home and abroad, and to provide effective remedy to victims... Brooks adds: ‘The experts send a clear message that failures to act, or allowing the corporate sector to go it alone, are not just errors of judgement, but an abdication of governments' legal responsibilities’.

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