Following the publication of a landmark report this September that makes the case for businesses to secure “the shared space” in which enterprises and civil society both operate, last month a group of eight leading organizations released a statement supporting civic freedoms, human rights defenders, and the rule of law. The statement, which is signed by companies including Unilever, Adidas and AngloAmerican, recognizes human rights defenders as “important partners in identifying risks or problems in our business activities” and call on governments to ensure defenders are free from harassment, intimidation, and attacks.
Businesses have much to gain from “securing the shared space” between business and civil society. As we argued in a previous blog post, business activities to promote respect for human rights are not simply a matter of responsible corporate citizenship, but they contribute to the development of a more stable and predictable business environment.
The statement, which is the first of its kind, was developed by the Business Network on Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders and released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.