Andrés Zaragoza / Indigenous community in Valle Sagrado, Perú

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HRC47 | ISHR welcomes new UN Guidance on Business and Human Rights Defenders and calls for its implementation

In a statement at the Human Rights Council, ISHR welcomed the UN Working Group’s recently released Guidance document for using the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for engaging with, safeguarding and ensuring respect for the rights of Human Rights Defenders. Human rights defenders are at the forefront of protecting their communities, the environment and key natural resources that maintain the balance in our planet.

This new guidance is a landmark for the protection of human rights defenders, building on a premise that ISHR has promoted for years: business and human rights defenders operate in and benefit from a “shared civic space” defined by common, fundamental elements. Respect for the rule of law and freedom of expression, association, assembly and public participation are essential to the realisation of all human rights, to good governance and accountable institutions. But they are also critical elements to stable, profitable and sustainable business environments in which companies thrive and economies and people prosper.

Andrés Zaragoza, Programme Manager at ISHR added: “The standard of good and responsible business conduct in relation to human rights defenders is now clear. Global companies should take note and implement the recommendations of the United Nations if they want to continue claiming that they contribute to sustainable development”.

There is both a legal duty and a growing global expectation for businesses and investors to act responsibly and to respect human rights. This trend is reflected in the enactment of special due diligence legal provisions in many jurisdictions and by the growing consensus around what sustainable and responsible business means.

June marks the tenth anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which we should celebrate while recognising that most of the work is still to be done.

This statement can be found here.

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