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Report by UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders highlights risks faced by advocates working on land, environment & corporate responsibility

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Article
21 October 2015

Commentary: "No more ‘business as usual’ when it comes to business and human rights defenders"

Author: Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, on Intl. Service for Human Rights

"No more ‘business as usual’ when it comes to business and human rights defenders", 19 Oct 2015

As part of this commitment I conducted consultations with over 500 human rights defenders from over 110 States from all regions of the world. As my recent report to the UN General Assembly records, one of the categories of defenders which emerged as most at risk in all regions was those working in the business and human rights, including those working on land and environment rights... These threats, risks and restrictions range from surveillance, to stigmatisation, to the inappropriate and excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, especially those protesting the activities of the extractives industries...The particular vulnerability of human rights defenders working in the field of business and human rights arises from three key factors. The first is the false dichotomy often propagated between development on the one hand and respect for human rights on the other...The second vulnerability factor is that [this work involves] promoting transparency, exposing violations and combating corruption...The third vulnerability factor...is the weakness in regulation of many non-State actors, both at the national and international levels...In my recent report to the UN General Assembly I made a number of recommendations to both States and businesses intended to respond to these factors... Corporations, States and the UN human rights system alike must recognise the vital role of human rights defenders in promoting corporate responsibility and accountability and support and protect them in this crucial work...

The particular vulnerability of human rights defenders working in the field of business and human rights arises from three key factors. - See more at: http://www.ishr.ch/news/no-more-business-usual-when-it-comes-business-an...
s part of this commitment I conducted consultations with over 500 human rights defenders from over 110 States from all regions of the world. As my recent report to the UN General Assembly records, one of the categories of defenders which emerged as most at risk in all regions was those working in the business and human rights, including those working on land and environment rights. - See more at: http://www.ishr.ch/news/no-more-business-usual-when-it-comes-business-an...

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Article
18 October 2015

Members of European Parliament support researcher Andy Hall, call on Thailand to stop persecuting human rights defenders

Author: Owen Tudor, TUC UK

“European Parliament latest to slam Thailand for harassing Andy Hall”, 17 Oct 2015

Andy Hall…is back in court on…19 October. The latest court hearing is to decide whether to indict him for criminal defamation by publication…and computer crimes…[T]he European Parliament has now got involved, thanks to his parents’ local MEP and leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, Glenis Willmott. Glenis took Andy’s case up at the request of the TUC and Andy’s parents…pressing the European Commission to back Andy’s case more forcefully, and arranging for his case to be raised in a European Parliament debate…[H]er fellow Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds argued that Thailand should stop the abuse of its judicial system to persecute human rights defenders like Andy…

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Report
14 October 2015

Full report

Author: Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

“Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders”, 30 Jul 2015

The present report focuses on the regional consultations that the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders organized at the end of 2014 and in the first half of 2015 with a view to sharing with the Member States of the United Nations the principal observations and recommendations arising out of the discussions with the defenders, eliciting greater recognition of the role of defenders and affording them better protection against the attacks they face…One category of defenders regularly participating in regional consultations is the group promoting and defending rights relating to land, the environment and corporate responsibility...They spoke of the excessive use of force against demonstrators and activists working on corporate responsibility matters or labour rights.  They are the targets of actions taken by both State and non-State actors (enterprises, private groups guarding sites...)...The various kinds of violations and threats are encouraged by a weak institutional environment, in which States have failed to put in place any effective mechanism for penalizing human rights violations committed by enterprises.  Defenders also complain of the lack of transparency and accountability of enterprises, especially in extractive industries...

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