How to make business a force for positive change in the fight against human rights abuse

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United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, 27-29 November, Palais des Nations, Geneva

GENEVA (15 November 2017) – Representatives of the world’s top companies will join government representatives, civil society groups and victims of human rights abuses at a UN forum in Geneva from 27-29 November to discuss ways  to advance corporate respect for human rights and secure justice for victims.

More than 2,000 participants from some 130 countries will attend the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, including prominent thought leaders and senior executives from firms ranked on the Forbes 500 list.

The UN Forum presents a unique opportunity for all parties to come together to find practical solutions to ensure respect for human rights in global supply chains and in efforts to achieve sustainable development”, said UN Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

The Forum will focus on the lessons that can be learnt from cases where things have gone wrong and where business operations have caused or contributed to human rights abuses. This will include a focus on the experiences of victims in seeking access to an effective remedy.

“A dialogue around access to effective remedy for business-related human rights abuses is not easy, but of fundamental importance today. We commend the commitment shown by a growing number of states and businesses in implementing their respective duties and responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, but much more needs to be done,” said Surya Deva, Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

Over three days, and a programme of 60+ thematic sessions, the Forum will focus on current trends, opportunities and challenges concerning the human rights responsibilities of business. Apart from access to justice, topics will include:

  • Female leadership on responsible business conduct, hearing from women leaders from government, business and civil society;
  • How companies are standing up against xenophobia and discrimination;
  • How to secure the rights of women and indigenous peoples;
  • How to defend human rights defenders;
  • How new technologies pose new threats, but also open up new opportunities for human rights protection in global supply chains;
  • How governments are taking steps to fight modern slavery in supply chains through new regulations;
  • How investors are taking actions to address child labour in supply chains;
  • How rankings of companies’ human rights performance are putting corporate respect for human rights on the corporate agenda;
  • How banks are starting to link human rights risks and abuses to their lending and financial services; and
  • How to embed respect for human rights in the Tokyo Olympics.

The Forum is open to media. Interviews can be arranged with Forum participants, who will be able to share their perspectives on specific cases, new developments, and on why more and more companies are seeing corporate respect for human rights as the right thing to do.

To learn more about the programme and the speakers, companies and organizations participating, click here.

ENDS

BACKGROUND:

The annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, aims to promote corporate respect for human rights and to take stock of progress in the implementation of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Guiding Principles provided the first authoritative global framework for the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and they have been integrated into a number of other standards, such as the ILO Tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy (MNE Declaration) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The Forum was established by the Human Rights Council and is guided and chaired by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Learn more
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/WGHRandtransnationalcorporationsandotherbusiness.aspx

For additional information and media requests please contact:
Jeremy J Laurence, Media Officer, at +41 22 9179383 / Jlaurence@ohchr.org
or the Forum Secretariat at: +41 22 917 9323 / wg-business@ohchr.org).

Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today.  #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org

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