Human Rights and the Built Environment - A Call for Action

Two-thirds of humanity are projected to live in urban areas by 2050. If we are to make progress in reducing global inequality and in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a rights-based approach to the built environment is critical. 


Commentary, 22 July 2019

By Annabel Short, Consultant, IHRB; Founder, Rights Here project

New Framework Agreement - Significant Progress in Protecting the Rights of Migrant Construction Workers in Qatar

The construction industry in Qatar is an important part of the country’s economic development and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The sector relies on migrant workers who everywhere in the world are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.


Commentary, 22 January 2018

By Jin Sook Lee, Gender & Campaign Director, Building and Wood Workers' International, Sarah Tesei, Director of Social Innovation and Human Rights, VINCI

New Construction Sector Agreement on Protecting Vulnerable Workers

Worker exploitation and ongoing rights abuses in the construction sector are being tackled through a range of initiatives, including guidance from CIOB on tackling modern slavery in construction, the BRE Ethical Labour Standard, and the Stronger...

Commentary, 11 October 2017

By Neill Wilkins, Head of Migrant Workers Programme, IHRB, William Rook, Senior Advisor, Strategy & Programmes, IHRB

Q&A on the Stronger Together Construction Initiative

The UK Modern Slavery Act has encouraged many businesses to examine how their activities impact the rights of others. The Act requires companies to engage with key challenges relating to risks of forced labour and trafficking. Customer-facing...

Commentary, 16 February 2017

Protecting Workers Building Sporting Venues –  Progress in Qatar

Mega-sporting events focus attention on human rights, however, it is often for a fleeting moment. It requires a great sense of urgency if improvements are to take place. In construction, it means a big, but temporary surge in activity for stadiums,...

Commentary, 28 November 2016

By Jim Baker

Built Environment Companies Need to Take a Longer Term View on Modern Slavery

It is an obvious but uncomfortable truth that there is no quick fix for modern slavery.  It is too enmeshed in corruption to be solved by box-ticking initiatives. It is too financially rewarding to be given up easily by perpetrators. The...

Commentary, 29 July 2016

By Emma Crates, Freelance journalist

Impact Investing - A New Player in Protecting Human Rights?

This commentary was originally published on openDemocracy.

In 2007, the Rockefeller Foundation devised the term “impact investing”, officially inaugurating a new era in finance and development.

This form of investing channel funds privately to...

Commentary, 27 July 2016

By Motoko Aizawa

The Infrastructure We Don’t Want - OECD Infrastructure Advice to the G20

This commentary was originally published on the Heinrich Böll Foundation website

As global growth has stalled over the last few years, the Group of 20 countries (G20) has made infrastructure investment a centerpiece of its policy work, expecting...

Commentary, 08 June 2016

By Motoko Aizawa

Can the Construction Industry Build Itself a Slavery-Free Future?

In recent years the issues of forced labour and human trafficking have risen higher on the political agenda than ever before. As awareness has grown, the world has come to learn such exploitation is far more common than was previously known and...

Commentary, 30 July 2015

By Neill Wilkins, Head of Migrant Workers Programme, IHRB

Bangladesh: Society of Fabric

This article was originally published by

Tragedy in a garment factory has brought new urgency to resolving long-standing failings in a sector crucial to Bangladesh’s economy

The collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, in which more...

Commentary, 03 June 2013

By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB

Foreign investment in Haiti – is the time right?

This week marks the third anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010. The extent of the disaster and human suffering that resulted led to unprecedented international efforts focused on assisting the Haitian people to...

Commentary, 18 January 2013

By Kelly Davina Scott, Regional Liaison Manager, IHRB, Kathryn Dovey, Manager, National Contact Point Coordination, OECD

The Hidden Impacts of Large Infrastructure Projects on Children

This op-Ed was originally published on

People swarm towards big infrastructure projects like bees to honey, but the interests of children are often overlooked

Though conjuring up images of Winnie the Pooh, the honeypot effect...

Commentary, 03 May 2012

By Margaret Wachenfeld, Managing Director, Themis Research; Senior Research Fellow, IHRB

Developing Practical Tools for Business on Land and Human Rights

Earlier this week, my colleagues Salil Tripathi and Wambui Kimathi wrote in the Guardian about the difficult ongoing challenges surrounding land acquisition and use in many countries around the world. A key dimension of addressing the many negative...

Commentary, 08 March 2012

By Kelly Davina Scott, Regional Liaison Manager, IHRB