Many human rights defenders face threats and attacks defending their community from adverse impact of business operations, often in the context of large development projects that affect access to land and livelihoods.
ISHR believes that businesses and human rights defenders operate in and benefit from a “shared civic space” defined by common, fundamental essential freedoms. These are essential to the realisation of all human rights, but also critical to enable stable, profitable and sustainable business environments in which companies thrive and economies, communities and people prosper.
Today, the human rights and business norms require global companies to behave responsibly and assess the human rights risks associated with their operations. Companies can no longer hide behind complex international supply chains or a network of subsidiaries owned by authoritarian leaders. Businesses have a responsibility to understand the complexities of the countries where they invest, to examine the suppliers they buy from, and to take into consideration the potential for impact associated with operating in countries where governance is weak and the rule of law is fragile.
ISHR works with human rights defenders who advocate for business and human rights issues. Particularly:
- We strengthen and build their capacity to defend the rights of their communities at the national and international level;
- We strengthen mechanisms to ensure that defenders are adequately protected from intimidation and attacks; and
- We co-manage the Business Network on Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders, a space for learning, discussion and action where international leading companies explore the role they play in helping to protect civic freedoms and human rights defenders globally.