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"Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders"

Author: Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Published on: 10 October 2017

The work of human rights defenders in the field of business and human rights is crucial to protecting the land and the environment, securing just and safe conditions of work, combating corruption, respecting indigenous...rights and achieving sustainable development...[Their] work...is also crucial to protecting the rights of freedom of expression and association, promoting gender equality and diversity and upholding the rule of law, conditions which are indispensable to the creation of...optimal working conditions for both business and civil society...However, defending and promoting human rights in the context of business is dangerous...work...In 2015 and 2016 alone, 450 such attacks were documented across the world. [D]efenders are increasingly subject to attacks by States and business-enterprises...Companies belonging to land-consuming industries, such as mining, agribusiness, oil, gas and coal and dam construction, remain the most dangerous... Whether the link is direct or indirect, all business enterprises have an independent responsibility to ensure that defenders can effectively and safely address the human rights impacts linked to their operations...[R]esponsibility of businesses to respect human rights not only entails a negative duty to refrain from violating the rights of others, but also a positive obligation to support a safe and enabling environment for... defenders.

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