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Monday, November 26
 

9:00am

Voices from the ground
http://webtv.un.org/search/panel-on-voices-from-the-ground-forum-on-business-and-human-rights-2018/5971600547001/?term=&lan=english&cat=Forum%20on%20Business%20and%20Human%20Rights&sort=date&page=2

Convened by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in collaboration with: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco-growing (ECLT), The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA), Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children's Rights, Global Witness and Rafto Foundation for Human Rights

Short description of the session:
This trailblazing session will feature a panel made up of only human rights defenders and community representatives from all regions, who will speak frankly about their stories and experiences of working to improve business respect for human rights in their countries, as well as the attacks they are under because of doing so. The session will be divided into three parts: the first part with focus on ways in which they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals this year, the second part will identify the common challenges that defenders and community representatives face in their work, and the third part will outline what they want to see between now and the next forum. We will leave enough time for interaction with the audience after each segment.
This session will offer an insight into the lives and struggles of defenders and community representatives, and outline a set of their core challenges and expectations to businesses, investors and governments, thus setting the scene for the 7th Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Session objectives:
The session will provide a “reality-check” early on in the Forum, and outline a set of core challenges and expectations by defenders and community representatives to businesses and governments, thus setting the scene for the 7th Forum on Business and Human Rights. The goal of the first part will be discuss ways that they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals so far, the objective of the second part will be to identify common challenges that defenders face in their work, and the objective of the third part will be to for defenders and community representatives to voice their expectations to the forum (governments, businesses, and investors).

Key discussion questions:
  • 1st part: focuses on ways in which they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals so far
    Question(s) to speakers: What was your main achievement in your work as a defender or community representatives this year? Why do you do what you do and what keeps you going?  
    Sub-questions: What were the main things that helped you and your colleagues continue defending human rights in the context of business operations in your country over the past year (coalitions, partnerships, new approaches to work, financial support, new laws, support from community/ family/ friends, religion, etc.)
  • 2nd part: focuses on challenges HRDs face in their work
    Question(s) to speakers: Who prevents you from advocating for rights in your country and how? What are the main types of attack you and your colleagues have faced in defending human rights in business operations in your country this year?
  • 3rd part: focuses on what they would like to ask from the forum (govts, businesses, investors) - what do they want to see between now and the next forum
    Question(s) to be asked to speakers: What are the main things that you would like to see businesses, investors and governments do in the coming year, that would  improve the safety for and prevent attacks on defenders working for human rights in business in your country, and improve business respect for human rights? 

Format of the session:
The session will open with a question or two to the audience to get them engaged early on. It will then be divided into three parts: the first part will identify ways in which they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals so far, the second will identify challenges that defenders face in their work, and the third part will outline what they would like to ask from the forum (governments, businesses, and investors) and what do they want to see between now and the next forum. We will leave enough time for interaction with the audience after each segment, so that governments, investors and businesses, can voice their proposals and feedback, and so that defenders and community representatives that won’t get a chance to speak on the panel, will have the opportunity to also share their stories (time permitting). The role of the moderator will be to engage the audience and to summarize the challenges and the demands voiced by the defenders.
In terms of identifying and voicing expectations, the speakers and the moderator will, to the extent possible, surface and built upon existing demands, such as the Action plan from the World HRDs Summit, the joint statement from 40+ civil society organizations from 2016, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders’ reports on the topic and other relevant material.

Background to the discussion:
Business and civil society operate in and benefit from a “shared space” defined by common, fundamental elements. The rule of law and freedom of expression, association and assembly are essential to the realization of all human rights, to good governance and accountable institutions. These elements are also critical to stable, profitable and sustainable business environments in which companies thrive and economies prosper. Standards and practices have evolved over the last two decades to encourage or require companies to respect human rights. Moreover, company engagement and consultation with local communities and stakeholders is overcoming conflict and confrontation in places and ways that encourage further progress. However, this shared space is under threat, not least through a sustained and growing attack on defenders wherever businesses have failed to comply with and respect due diligence national laws, standards and national and international human rights protocols. Alarmingly, in the last decade, HRDs have increasingly come under massive attack. Since 2015, there have been over 1,300 attacks on HRDs working human rights issues related to business, including almost 400 killings. Workers were exposed to physical violence and threats in 65 countries in 2018 and trade unionists were murdered in nine countries in the first half of that year. Journalists are increasingly being imprisoned and attacked – 262 journalists were imprisoned in 2017 and 29 journalists have been killed in 2018. Civicus data indicates that only 3% of people on the planet live in countries with truly ‘open civic space’. These pressures and attacks undermine the legal and institutional frameworks upon which both business and civil society depend. For the business and human rights agenda to continue moving forward, defenders, and the civic freedoms they need to do their work, must be recognized as a vital and inescapable part of ensuring human rights respect in business operations. Defenders cannot play that role without solid guarantees of safety and security. States have primary role in ensuring corporates respect constitutional frameworks and set in place governance machinery, regulatory mechanisms, legal and policy structures and resources as well as place the upholding of human rights and well-being of all its citizens at the core of its development economy.


Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Debbie Stothard

Debbie Stothard

Secretary-General / Coordinator, FIDH/ ALTSEAN-Burma
Debbie Stothard has worked since 1981 in media, academia, community education & human rights in Malaysia, Australia and Thailand. Her work in training grassroots communities and advocacy is focused on women's leadership, atrocity prevention, and business and human rights.

Speakers
SK

Saeeda Kathoum

spokes-person, Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association
O

Olman

Olman represents his fellow students and his community in Western Guatemala. Though he has returned to his studies, Olman is a former child labourer who will share about the realities he and other young people like him face accessing education, working from a young age. As the first-ever... Read More →
avatar for Emmanuel Umpula

Emmanuel Umpula

Directeur, AFREWATCH
M. Umpula Nkumba Emmanuel, est directeur et fondateur de Afrewatch (AFREWATCH), il est juriste et travaille depuis 2002 à la défense et la promotion des droits de l'homme en RDC et en Afrique sur les entreprises et les droits de l'homme. Pendant son parcours, il a occupé plusieurs... Read More →


Monday November 26, 2018 9:00am - 10:30am
Room XX
 
Tuesday, November 27
 

11:30am

Safeguarding human rights defenders: new efforts and tackling growing threats
http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/forum-on-business-and-human-rights/watch/panel-on-safeguarding-human-rights-defenders-forum-on-business-and-human-rights-2018/5972123912001/?term=

Organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights in collaboration with: 
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
  • Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  • Global Witness
  • International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  • International Service for Human Rights
  • Peace Brigades International
  • Rafto Foundation for Human Rights

Brief description of the session :

The need for enhancing protection of human rights defenders who speak up against business-related human rights impacts is a standing item on the Forum’s agenda. This session led by the UN Working Group in collaboration with NGOs is envisaged to consist of two parts:
  1. The first part of the session will be dedicated to showcasing new efforts to strengthen corporate respect and support for human rights defenders. Presentations will be brief, but meant to highlight encouraging initiatives and action.
  2. The second part of the session will focus on the growing trend of criminalization and legal harassment of defenders who speak up against business-related impacts and identify concrete action to be taken by governments, business and others to address it. The panel aims to identify what "human rights due diligence" is needed and what are some of the practical considerations for preventing that companies become involved in criminalization and legal harassment of defenders who engage in legitimate efforts to address potential and actual adverse impacts. This will include identifying steps to be taken by:
  • home States
  • host States
  • companies that cause negative impacts and who are the main targets of criticism
  • companies that have business relationships to those causing the abuse (typically transnational corporations and their responsibility to address impacts in their supply chain)
  • investors
  • companies that invest in contexts where criminalization of human rights defenders is a salient issue
Background to the discussion:

Threats to human rights defenders and to civic freedoms are increasing concerns globally. A large number of human rights defenders are under threat and attack because they raise concern about adverse human rights impacts of business operations, often in the context of large development projects that affects access to land and livelihoods. At the same time, the space for civil society actors to raise concerns about human rights impacts is shrinking, and human rights defenders face criminalization when engaging in public protest or civil dissent.
Concerns are being raised about the role of business in contributing to attacks against human rights defenders or in failing to take action against such attacks. Questions are also being raised about the role of business in helping to protect human rights defenders and civic space.
States have the primary obligation to ensure the rights and protection of human rights defenders, as set out in various human rights instruments – in particular the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders – and as reaffirmed in many UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly resolutions, including through the March 2016 resolution on the protection of human rights defenders working on economic, social and cultural rights.
The importance of human rights defenders in the context of business-related impacts on human rights is recognized by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They highlight the key role human rights defenders can have in human rights due diligence and enabling companies to understand concerns of affected stakeholders. In particular, the Guiding Principles:
  • Urge businesses to consult human rights defenders as an important expert resource as part of their human rights due diligence, as defenders have a key role as watchdogs, advocates and voice for affected stakeholders.
  • Urge States to ensure that the legitimate activities of human rights defenders are not obstructed.

References

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Michael Ineichen

Michael Ineichen

Programme Director, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Ms. Anita Ramasastry is the Roland L. Hjorth Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School Of Law. She researches and teaches in the fields of law and development, anti-corruption, international... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Brittany Benowitz

Brittany Benowitz

Chief Counsel, ABA Center for Human Rights
I run a program at the American Bar Association that provides pro bono assistance to human rights defenders who face retaliation for their work.
avatar for Bennett Freeman

Bennett Freeman

author of “Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders”, author of “Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders”
Over the last 17 years of a three decade-long career, Bennett Freeman has worked at the intersection of multinational companies, responsible investors, NGOs, governments and international institutions to promote corporate responsibility, sustainability and human rights around the... Read More →
avatar for Andreas Graf

Andreas Graf

Human Rights Manager, Sustainability & Diversity Department, FIFA
Andreas Graf is Human Rights Manager at FIFA. Andreas coordinates FIFA's work to embed respect for human rights throughout the organisation's operations and relationships. He holds a PhD in political science.
avatar for Johanna Molina Miranda

Johanna Molina Miranda

Researcher on Human Rights and Business, CREER
Lawyer, Specialist in International Law of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law with studies in Politics and International Security and currently studying for a Masters in Public International Law. She has experience in the public sector, as well as research and training... Read More →
avatar for Mohammad Nayyeri

Mohammad Nayyeri

Justice for Iran
Mohammad Nayyeri is an Iranian Attorney at Law specialising in human rights with substantial work experience within Iranian legal system. He has acted as legal advisor for a number of human rights NGOs and his research papers and legal commentaries regarding the Iranian legal system... Read More →
avatar for Ana Sandoval

Ana Sandoval

Peaceful Resistance “La Puya”, Guatemala, Peaceful Resistance “La Puya”, Guatemala
avatar for Lorenzo Urbinati

Lorenzo Urbinati

New Initiatives and Partnership Development Programme Officer, FORUM-ASIA
avatar for Clément Nyaletsossi Voule

Clément Nyaletsossi Voule

UN Special Rapporteur on Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
Clément Nyaletsossi VOULE, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association. Prior to his appointment, he led the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) work to support human rights defenders from States in transition and coordinated... Read More →


Tuesday November 27, 2018 11:30am - 1:00pm
Room XX

1:00pm

Snapshot: Gender, corporate due diligence, access to justice and indigenous women human rights defenders – Case study from Asia

Brief description of the presentation:
Indigenous women are most closely associated with the habitat in which they live as their economic, social and cultural way of nurturing their families and communities is dependent on their access to land, forests and other natural resources. When business interests enter the dynamics of resource utilization they bring drastic changes to women’s lives. The legal and customary safeguards, which traditionally ensure that women are not disenfranchised from decision-making and consultative processes or accountability mechanisms, are negatively impacted when corporate stakes violate the rights of indigenous women, especially in sectors like mining. The speakers will represent the Asia Regional Alliance on Women and Mining and will refer to human rights violations of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) by the state and business-related human rights abuse due to irresponsible mineral extraction and processing in the region. The presentation will also focus on state and corporate due diligence requirements and related commitments with respect to transparency, accountability, monitoring and safeguards mechanisms for the protection of WHRDs.

Presentation objectives: 
The snapshot presenters will make concise recommendations based on wide engagement with indigenous women and affected women workers and communities, and will present due diligence best practices that uphold human rights standards and promote sustainable development.
 

Speakers
avatar for Bhanumathi Kalluri

Bhanumathi Kalluri

Director, Dhaatri Trust
CP

Cheryl P. Polutan

Program Coordinator, LILAK Purple Action for Indigenous Women's Rights


Tuesday November 27, 2018 1:00pm - 1:15pm
Room XXIV

3:15pm

Snapshot: The use of the Universal Period Review (UPR) mechanism as a tool to prevent Business related human rights abuses
Interpretation is provided in English and Spanish

Brief description of the presentation:
When issues of resettlement or recognition of land rights are not properly managed in the context large scale infrastructure or extractives projects, this may trigger violence and abuses of individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples.
The UPR provides an international mechanism for indigenous organizations and civil society organizations to raise awareness of such impacts. They have been using UPR as a tool to raise concerns with third countries on the impact of human rights abuses caused by investments and trade, and to influence policy makers in order to improve regulatory and monitoring frameworks (with civil society participation).

Presentation objectives:
The presentation will showcase of how UPR can positively contribute to the development of national plans on business and human rights possibly leading to concrete policy and legal developments to prevent future human rights abuses. The presenters will also discuss what avenues may be taken in order to balance the legitimate right of the State to promote investment projects of national interest with the conservation of ecosystems and the respect of human rights of indigenous peoples. This includes their right to participate in the whole investment project cycle, in line with the requirement set out in the UN Guiding Principles and other international human rights instruments.

Speakers
AL

Adolfo López

Human Rights Defender, COICA (Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica)


Tuesday November 27, 2018 3:15pm - 3:30pm
Room XXIV

4:45pm

Snapshot: Economic evidence for civic rights protection
Interpretation is provided in English and Spanish

Description of the presentation:
This “snapshot” presentation will outline the economic argument for why business should be concerned about the global crackdown on civic rights and civil society. In October, The B Team released The Business Case for Protecting Civic Rights, to examine the economic impact of respect for civic rights and civic space. The Business Case for Protecting Civic Rights utilises data from the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem) to augment the business case for action and explore how a better business environment is linked to greater civic rights and freedoms.

Presentation objectives: 
We plan to speak alongside a company representative that can explain why the protection of civic rights is important to their business operations and their commitment to the UN Guiding Principles

Speakers
avatar for Annabel Lee Hogg

Annabel Lee Hogg

Manager, Governance and Transparency, The B Team
avatar for Michael Karimian

Michael Karimian

Senior Manager, Human Rights, Microsoft


Tuesday November 27, 2018 4:45pm - 5:00pm
Room XXIV

6:15pm

Human Rights and Business Award – Human rights defenders in the Global South
Organized by the Human Rights and Business Award Foundation

Short description of the session: 
At this session the first annual Human Rights and Business Award will be presented to an NGO, “for outstanding work by human rights defenders in the Global South or former Soviet Union addressing the human rights impacts of business”.  The award will be accompanied by a grant of US$50,000.  This session will not be ceremonial – instead, it will be an interactive learning and discussion opportunity, linking the particular experiences of the award recipient and the lessons learned through those experiences to the Forum’s priority issues including human rights due diligence, sector-focused challenges, and the UN Guiding Principles.

Session objectives: 
  • Identification of human rights abuses that need to be addressed by civil society, business and governments – and steps that need to be taken to avoid recurrence of those abuses
  • Identification of good practices by human rights defenders, business and governments
  • Identification of “due diligence” good practice and opportunities
  • Identification of opportunities for increased constructive direct engagement between companies and NGOs and between governments and NGOs
  • Identification of opportunities for more effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Key discussion questions 
  • What have been your organization’s greatest challenges, and greatest successes, in addressing the human rights impacts of business in your country?  What have you learned from the experience that could be useful to other NGOs, and to businesses and governments?
  • A central theme of this UN Forum is human rights due diligence by companies.  What practical advice would you give to an international company coming into your country and wanting to respect human rights, implement the UN Guiding Principles and assess the risks?
  • Do you have any practical suggestions for increasing constructive direct engagement between companies and NGOs in your country?
  • Your NGO has been addressing specific human rights impacts by business.  When you step back and look at the broader landscape in your country, what steps can civil society, companies and government take in the future to promote good human rights practices by business?

Discussants who will help activate the broader discussion with brief contributions include:
  • Justiça nos Trilhos has just been named the recipient of the first annual Human Rights and Business Award, which will be presented at this session.
    Justiça nos Trilhos is a human rights NGO working with more than 100 communities in rural regions of Brazil to address widespread abuses by mining companies, and to defend the rights of local people including indigenous communities. The abuses include damage to health and livelihoods, displacement of communities, violence, and decimation of the cultures and lives of indigenous peoples. The human rights defenders of Justiça nos Trilhos, and the local communities they work with, have suffered persecution, surveillance and retaliatory lawsuits.
  • Lea Rankinen of S Group, a Finnish network of companies operating in the retail and service sectors. When human rights defender Andy Hall documented forced labor by one of S Group’s suppliers in Thailand, and when that supplier filed a court case against Andy Hall, S Group first tried to convince their supplier company to have an open dialogue with stakeholders and to cooperate with external auditors, and when the supplier refused S Group stopped working with them.  But S Group went further – it considered what was the necessary level of due diligence to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, then decided to travel to Thailand to testify in support of human rights defender Andy Hall, and after he was convicted, raised his case at the European Parliament and at the United Nations.  Lea said: “Human rights defenders are the ones doing this work on the ground level...if they can’t raise questions, then how can anyone in the society?”  For further information, see “In-depth interview with Lea Rankinen of S Group: ‘If suppliers think they can sue human rights defenders who will audit or investigate them, this will jeopardize our responsible sourcing’", Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Jan 2017.
  • Anita Ramasastry, Member of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, will highlight the Working Group’s new guidance document on human rights defenders being launched soon: guidance for governments and business on action to safeguard and support human rights defenders in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Alexandra Montgomery

Alexandra Montgomery

Member of the Advisory Network, Human Rights and Business Award Foundation
Alexandra is Program Director for Brazil, Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)Alexandra holds an LL.M. Degree specializing in Human Rights from American University - Washington College of Law and has worked for the past 14 years in many civil society organizations in Brazil... Read More →
avatar for Valeria Scorza

Valeria Scorza

Vice Chair. Program Director of Fundación Avina, Human Rights and Business Award Foundation
Valeria holds a degree in political science and public administration from Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico) and a master’s degree in international relations with a concentration in human rights from Columbia University. She has worked at international human rights organizations... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Christopher Avery

Christopher Avery

Chair of the foundation's board, Human Rights and Business Award Foundation
Chris was Founding Director (2002-2013) of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, and before that worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International as Legal Adviser and Deputy Head of the Research Department. He will co-moderate a Forum session (27 Nov, 18:15-19:45... Read More →
avatar for Danilo Chammas

Danilo Chammas

Lawyer, Justiça nos Trilhos
Danilo Chammas is a lawyer and human rights defender who lives in Maranhão, a state of dense Amazon rainforest in northeastern Brazil. He coordinates the legal team of Justiça nos Trilhos (Justice on the Rails), which works to defend the human rights of those impacted by mining... Read More →
avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

Member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Ms. Anita Ramasastry is the Roland L. Hjorth Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development at the University of Washington School Of Law. She researches and teaches in the fields of law and development, anti-corruption, international... Read More →
avatar for Lea Rankinen

Lea Rankinen

SVP Sustainability, SOK Corporation


Tuesday November 27, 2018 6:15pm - 7:45pm
Room XX