When people are living in poverty, the conditions they have to endure can represent violations of their human rights - and it is often the poorest who suffer the worst violations. Equally, over the past decade there has been growing recognition of the importance of securing rights to the alleviation of poverty. For example, securing the land rights of smallholder farmers helping access to funding and their willingness to improve their lands and productivity. In parallel a dialogue about the business impacts, both positive and negative, on human rights has been developing.
This dialogue reached a turning point in 2008, when the United Nations published a framework on business and human rights setting out:
- the state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises,
- the corporate responsibility to respect human rights,
- and the need for greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.
And three years later, the UN published the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights providing guidance to both governments and businesses on how to operationalise this framework. It is early days, but this week of articles looks at how the Guiding Principles are being promoted, how companies are beginning to integrate them into single company and collective action, and how the principles support multi-stakeholder action to relieve poverty.
Please join our discussion below. Post your own questions and on Wednesday 3rd July at 10.30 EST / 15.30 BST our panel of experts will take them up in live eDiscussion - please join them then.
Here are some questions to get us started:
- What is your awareness of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights? What specific questions do you have about them?
- How is your company going about the implementation of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights? And what is it learning?
- What ways can you see in your work whether in a development organisation or a company, of using the approach of the UN Framework and Guiding Principles to help address issues of poverty?
Luke Wilde, Director of twentyfifty ltd. www.twentyfifty.co.uk
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