Civil society urges businesses & govts. to put human rights at core of implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals

In advance of the United Nations Private Sector Forum 2017, civil society leaders urge businesses and governments to ensure that respect for human rights is an integral part of all actions towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The open letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Private Sector Forum calls on states and businesses to put human rights at the heart of business by implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights; engaging in collaborative initiatives to tackle systemic challenges; ensuring the regulatory environment protects human rights, including the rights of workers and impacted communities; and being transparent and accountable about their efforts.

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Instamos a los participantes a que garanticen que el respeto de los derechos humanos sea una parte integral de todas las acciones cuyo fin es alcanzar los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS)... Para poner esto en contexto, se calcula que entre 21 y 48 millones personas trabajan en condiciones de esclavitud moderna; alrededor de 85 millones de los 168 millones de niños y niñas que trabajan se encuentran ejerciendo las peores formas de infantil; y más de 2,3 millones de personas mueren anualmente como resultado de accidentes de trabajo o enfermedades relacionadas con el trabajo. Las comunidades pobres pierden sus medios de vida, acceso a la asistencia sanitaria y agua limpia cuando la tierra es utilizada para la agricultura, la construcción, la minería y otras actividades sin respeto por sus derechos. Terminar con tales abusos permitiría a estas personas vivir sus vidas con dignidad, con mejor acceso a la educación, atención médica, alimentación y otras metas de los ODS.

Las empresas deben poner estas realidades al centro de cómo definen su contribución a la Agenda 2030. Esto representa la oportunidad más grande del sector privado para promover el desarrollo humano en la actualidad... El avance de la debida diligencia en materia de derechos humanos como elemento central de las estrategias para implementar los ODS requiere compromisos reforzados, tanto por parte de los gobiernos, como de las empresas...

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13 September 2017

Open letter to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and United Nations Private Sector Forum 2017 Participants

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Danish Institute for Human Rights, Institute for Human Rights & Business, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Oxfam International, Shift

We urge participants [at the UN Private Sector Forum] to ensure that respect for human rights is an integral part of all actions towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)... Between 21 and 48 million people are estimated to work in forms of modern slavery; around 85 million of the estimated 168 million child labourers are in hazardous forms of work; and more than 2.3 million people die annually as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases. Poor communities lose livelihoods, access to healthcare and clean water when land is taken or used without respect for their rights in the name of agriculture, construction, mining and other activities. Ending such abuses would enable these people to live their lives with dignity, with improved access to education, medical care, food, and many other SDG targets. Businesses must put these realities at the heart of how they define their contribution to Agenda 2030. Doing so represents the private sector’s single biggest opportunity to advance human development today.

Business responsibility for respecting human rights is too often viewed only as a matter of compliance and risk management... [which] underestimates the hugely positive development impacts that will be achieved through improved treatment of the millions of workers and communities affected by business activities around the world... Advancing human rights due diligence as a core element of SDG implementation strategies requires strengthened commitments from governments as well as business... We need an upsurge in innovative and collaborative ways of placing respect for the dignity of every person at the core of sustainable development.

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