Human rights comes under corporate attack
Human rights defenders are coming under attack from companies and governments, according to a leading human rights organisation.
Research from the Business and Human Rights Centre has revealed that there are less venues available to pursue human rights cases. Furthermore, the organisation, which has analysed over 200 lawsuits, found that campaigners are increasingly the victims of legal harrassment and are targeted in a number of ways such as defamation and libel claims, tax investigations and efforts to deregister the defenders’ organisations. US and English courts are narrowing their scope on human rights but other potential venues for extraterritorial claims are emerging with cases recently filed in Canada, France, Switzerland and Germany over alleged human rights abuses by companies outside those countries.
Commenting on the findings, Greg Regaignon, Research Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, said: 'The use of legal proceedings to intimidate and silence victims of corporate abuses and those who speak out for them is a worrying development. We increasingly hear stories of advocates being prosecuted or sued for promoting corporate respect for human rights, and their organizations investigated for purported legal violations. Of course governments should not allow their legal systems to be abused in these ways, but businesses also need to speak out against such harassment.' The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an international NGO that tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of over 6000 companies in over 180 countries.
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