Positive initiatives by businesses to protect civic freedoms

The main elements of a safe and enabling environment for civil society organizations (CSOs) and human rights defenders (HRDs) are the respect for basic freedoms, strong compliance with the rule of law, removal of all obstacles for registration and operation, end to all forms of impunity, and free access to remedy and redress mechanisms. All these are the same elements that are conducive for healthy environments in which to conduct business and investments. The fates of CSOs, HRDs, and companies are closely intertwined.

Human rights, labour rights and environmental defenders, journalists, lawyers, and anti-corruption campaigners are key agents of change, and they contribute greatly to safeguarding human rights and the rule of law. As such, both companies and defenders have a shared interest in the full respect of freedoms of expression, association and assembly, characterised by non-discrimination, transparent and accountable government, and freedom from corruption.

However, the operating context for CSOs and HRDs has become, and continues to become increasingly restrictive and dangerous in many countries. These countries include those in which companies operate and invest. More and more companies understand that they can have a powerful voice in the protection of civic freedoms, especially where abuses are taking place linked to their industry and/or operations. Below are some of these recent examples of emerging good practices and drivers of such actions.

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21 November 2017

Colombia: ISAGEN advocates for the protection of human rights defenders and social leaders

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8 November 2017

BHP opposes Minerals Council of Australia's war on activist rights

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20 September 2017

Myanmar: Unilever CEO tweets support for Rohingya in Myanmar

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19 September 2017

Coca-Cola cans and iconic Sydney billboard to change to rainbow colours in support of marriage equality

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19 September 2017

Myanmar: Telenor issues statement expressing grave concern for escalating developments in Rakhine

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19 September 2017

Thailand: Axfood & global network Ethical Trading Initiative join 85 others in urging Prime Minister to protect the right of workers to report on abuses

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"Criminal Defamation Complaints Brought against Myanmar Migrant Workers and Labor Rights Advocate", 19 Sep 2017...

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14 September 2017

Myanmar: Leber Jeweler condemns ethnic cleansing against Rohingya people; encourages cos. to follow suit

Author: Brian Leber, Leber Jeweler (USA)

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4 September 2017
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22 August 2017

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