Phil Lynch of Intl. Service for Human Rights explains how responsible businesses can help protect human rights defenders

Author: Phil Lynch, International Service for Human Rights, Published on: 26 November 2015

"Business and human rights defenders: A safe and enabling operating environment for all", 16 Nov 2015

I have long held the view that harnessing the enterprise, creativity, innovation and resources of business is one of the most effective ways to promote and protect human rights...The situation for defenders working in the field of business and human rights is particularly precarious. In fact, UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst recently reported to the UN General Assembly that they are among the most vulnerable and at risk groups in the world. Stigmatised and defamed in India as ‘anti-development’ or as ‘economic saboteurs’, murdered in Honduras for protesting the Agua Zarca Dam, or vexatiously prosecuted in Angola for exposing corruption in the diamond industry, these defenders are often caught between authoritarian governments and irresponsible business. So what is responsible business to do? I would suggest that there is a spectrum of actions for companies to take; some are legal obligations arising from the Guiding Principles and international law, others are good business practice and the right thing to do...[see article for specific examples referring to companies including adidas, Coca-Cola, DLA Piper, Microsoft, Tiffany]

With the expert advice and assistance of Allens Linklaters and DLA Piper, we have therefore drafted and are at this Forum launching a ‘Human Rights Defender Toolkit for Promoting Business Respect for Human Rights’. - See more at:

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Related companies: adidas Coca-Cola DLA Piper Microsoft Tiffany