|Flavia Milano, Global Rights' NRHRI Director, |
with our partners in Tchimbouissi, Congo.
I say extraordinary because there is a fascinating conversation that is taking shape between civil society organizations (CSOs), governments and corporations based on a new framework that the United Nations (UN) adopted in 2011 called the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs).
This human rights and business framework highlights that while states have obligations to protect, respect, and remedy human rights violations, businesses also have responsibilities to respect and remedy human rights. If businesses embrace these principles, they commit to:
- Develop a high level public statement clearly explaining the company’s policy and declaring it will serve as a roadmap for its behavior;
- Conduct human rights impact assessments to understand their human rights footprint;
- Integrate their human rights policies throughout the company, making sure all employees are aware of their human rights responsibilities; and,
- Track performance through “monitoring and auditing processes.”
The conversation that is taking place and that we want to deepen this October is about the integral role CSOs play in building demand in the developing world for business implementation of the principles and how to go about doing that.
Human Rights CSOs are key to this process because they know their communities; know local and international law; and know how best to explain to stakeholders the importance of protecting human rights. But they can only serve as catalysts for change if they have a full understanding of this business and human rights framework.
At the conference, we seek to provide a solid knowledge base of the principles to our CSO partners. Our partners will have the opportunity to interact and exchange information with a broad range of peer CSO, government and business experts. Some of the topics are:
- Due Diligence and Corporate Social Responsibility – What do Civil Society Organizations need to know on human rights and due diligence? Presented by the International Corporate Responsibility Roundtable.
- How can Civil Society Organizations obtain and share information on Business and Human Rights? Presented by Business and Human Rights Resource Center.
- Regulatory gaps and opportunities within national legal systems. Accountability and challenges. Presented by Amnesty International.
To add to the conversation, our partners will also hear about lessons learned from other CSOs on the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPs). The VPs provide guidance to companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As you can see, it’s going to be a full few days. I will be with Flavia Milano, Director of our NRHRI. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for my updates from London.
We gratefully acknowledge the Ford Foundation for making this conference possible.
Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth