The Role of Business in Protecting Human Rights Defenders

The key elements of a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders, and a effective investment and operating environment for business, are closely intertwined. Human rights and environmental defenders, journalists, lawyers, and anti-corruption campaigners are key agents of change, and they contribute greatly to safeguard human rights and the rule of law. As such, both companies and human rights defenders have a shared interest in an environment which respects the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and is characterised by non-discrimination, transparent and accountable government, freedom from corruption, and respect for the rule of law. Regrettably, the operating environment for defenders is becoming increasingly restrictive and dangerous in many countries. These countries include those in which corporations, with policies on human rights, increasingly operate and invest. Jointly hosted by the UN Global Compact, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), this webinar will provide an overview of the increasing restrictions faced by civil society and human rights defenders, explore some of the drivers and benefits of business action in their support and protection, and discuss emerging good practices related to business and human rights defenders.