Outcome of ISHR side-event on business and human rights defenders

June 3, 2013

ISHR-logo-colour-highLast week I informed you that the Geneva-based NGO, International Service for Human Rights Finally, organised a side-event on business and human rights defenders (co-sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and promised to keep you informed of the outcome. Thanks to the quick reply from Phil Lynch, the Director here is the summary: The panelists concluded that the Human Rights Council should better protect and support the work of such defenders and proposed a range of actions in this regard, including a joint study or report on the issues by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and developing a resolution on business and human rights defenders for adoption by the Human Rights Council. All panelists (Clement Voulé, Sapna Malik, Gerald Staberock, and Lene Wendland) agreed that there is a more pressing need for full and effective implementation of both the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders at the national level than for the elaboration of a new treaty or declaration on the issues.

Earlier the ISHR had in a statement during the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, expressed concern at the harassment and reprisals faced by human rights defenders for their work investigating, protesting, and seeking access to remedies for victims of alleged abuses linked to business activities. While in a statement made to the Panel on Business and Human Rights, ISHR had urged the UN and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are interpreted and applied consistently with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, by requiring that States enact legislation to protect civil society organizations and human rights defenders from harassment, persecution and reprisals linked to their corporate accountability work; that corporations consult with human rights defenders about the human rights risks and impacts of their work; and that both States and corporations provide access to an effective remedy for victims of corporate human rights violations.

A just published piece in the Global Post recaps these points:  http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/commentary/global-community-human-rights

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