Commentary

The Governance Legacy of Mega-Sporting Events: A Golden Opportunity to Promote Human Rights

Human rights’ next of kin is the global anti-corruption movement. These two efforts increasingly work in tandem, creating the conditions in which humans flourish. Their synergy has at least two explanations. Most obviously, we know that corruption...

07 December 2018

By Andy Spalding, Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law

Do It Just: Has Nike Started a New Trend?

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” 

These words, embossed over a close-up photograph of Colin Kaepernick, have already created debate over what many consider a controversial choice by sports company Nike to feature the...

12 September 2018

By Alison Biscoe, Project Coordinator, Mega-Sporting Events, IHRB

Progress on Embedding Human Rights within Commonwealth Sports Policy

Last month in Queensland, Australia, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games delivered the first multi-sport event to offer an equal number of medals for both men and women, and featured the largest integrated sports programme in Commonwealth Games...

03 May 2018

By David Rutherford, Chief Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission

Harm Free Sport - Aligning Sports Bodies, Sporting Values, and Human Rights

Several major sports governing bodies are making strides towards implementing their commitments to respect human rights throughout their operations.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen adoption of the International Olympic Committee’s new host city...

30 March 2018

By William Rook, Regional Manager, Middle East, IHRB

Japan’s Technical Intern Training Programme - Learning the Hard Way?

In September 2017, 37 member states endorsed an appeal during the UN General Assembly for urgent action on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7. This is the target that advocates immediate progress to eradicate human trafficking, forced labour,...

16 October 2017

By Takeshi Hayakawa, IHRB Visiting Researcher 2016, Jon Barnes, Independent Researcher; Research Fellow, IHRB

Mapping the Sport, Development, and Peace Agenda - Where are Human Rights?

Can sport and physical activity be a useful tool in promoting tolerance and respect as well as a central element in strategies to achieve better health, education and social inclusion?

On 6 April each year, including today, the International Day of...

06 April 2017

By Guido Battaglia, Outreach Manager, IHRB

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,...

28 November 2016

By Jim Baker

Overcoming the “Exit Challenge” - Why We Need New Forms of Social Contract

The #Brexit vote in the UK earlier this year, the rise of extreme populists in many parts of Europe and now the USA all pose a central challenge: How to convince people that complex problems need complex solutions? Building walls, leaving...

12 September 2016

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

How can we Ensure Mega-Sporting Events Showcasing Humanity’s Best are also Built on Human Rights?

Yesterday [word doc], the Member State representatives of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and Council President H.E. Mr. Choi Kyonglim met to discuss the role of sport in...

29 June 2016

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

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...

08 June 2016

By Motoko Aizawa

Restoring the Beauty of the Game

For those who follow the human rights impacts of mega-sporting events it has been a busy couple of weeks. First came Amnesty International’s report on the preparations for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup (“The ugly side of the beautiful game”) and...

14 April 2016

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

Lessons from Glasgow – Adopting the World’s First Mega-Sporting Event Human Rights Policy

Sport has faced no shortage of troubles of late. Revelations and allegations of misdeeds continue to blight many major sports. FIFA’s governance is still under the spotlight, match-fixing allegations in tennis have come to the fore, Qatar’s approach...

02 March 2016

By Kenny Stewart

Restoring the Social Licence of Mega-Sporting Events

Major sports bodies face a growing crisis of legitimacy.  Earlier this month, world football’s governing body FIFA,dismissed its secretary general for alleged involvement in profiting from the sale of World Cup tickets. A day later, the...

18 January 2016

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

Focus on Qatar: Why Human Rights Research Matters

Earlier this week in Qatar, authorities finally released researchers Krishna Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev, who were detained for eight days while in the country for the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development. Their story is but the...

12 September 2015

By Priyanka Motaparthy, Researcher and Author; Research Fellow, IHRB

Are sports governing bodies finally on the road to reform?

In the midst of a growing corruption scandal and investigations by US and Swiss authorities, Sepp Blatter has announced his intention to stand down as FIFA President pending a still to be scheduled extraordinary election to select his replacement....

05 June 2015

By Lucy Amis, Human Rights and Sport Specialist, Unicef UK; Reseach Fellow, IHRB

Government Approval Not Enough, Businesses Need Social License

This article was originally published on YaleGlobal Online

Globalization drives business deals around the globe along with keen new awareness about social, environmental and other consequences of development. Best business practice now demands...

22 October 2014

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

Business and Society: Defining the ’Social License’

This article, by IHRB Executive Director John Morrison, was originally published in The Guardian on 29 September 2014.

Business leaders, politicians and civil society set a common direction towards new global agreements on climate change at the UN...

01 October 2014

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

The Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee leads the race on Human Rights. Will other organising committe

This week the Scottish city of Glasgow gets set to welcome 4,500 athletes from 71 nations as it hosts the XX Commonwealth Games. Potentially a billion people will be watching the Commonwealth Games, the third mega-sporting event (MSE) to be held...

23 July 2014

By Lucy Amis, Human Rights and Sport Specialist, Unicef UK; Reseach Fellow, IHRB

Time for action on human rights and mega-sporting events

Last week Mary Robinson and John Ruggie wrote a letter of behalf of IHRB to FIFA President ‘Sepp’ Blatter in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup, urging football’s governing body to fully integrate human rights considerations into its decision-making....

20 June 2014

By Lucy Amis, Human Rights and Sport Specialist, Unicef UK; Reseach Fellow, IHRB

Qatar 2022: Three Rana Plazas in Slow Motion?

The World Cup has been a beloved tradition since 1930 and every four years it attracts millions of fans from around the world to cheer on their teams. Sadly however, the event is no longer just fun and games. Recently FIFA, the organisation that...

14 June 2014

By Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair, OECD Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct, John Ruggie, Patron, IHRB

Women’s Leadership Can Transform the Way We Do Business in a Climate-Constrained World

This article was originally published in the HuffingtonPost.

As a global community, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. One path -- the "business as usual" route -- sees us approach a drastically warmer world, where our continuing reliance on...

07 May 2014

By Mary Robinson, Patron, IHRB

Major Sporting Events and Human Rights

Host nations and cities, sports organising bodies and companies must move faster, aim higher, and show stronger resolve

As the 2014 Winter Olympic Games get underway this weekend in Sochi, debates continue to intensify around the responsibilities...

06 February 2014

By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB

The Glasgow 2014 Games and Human Rights – An opportunity to put the new Commonwealth Charter into p

"On the back of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (London 2012) - which arguably set the gold standard for sustainability at a Mega-Sporting Event (MSE) – and London’s commitment to leave a lasting legacy, expectations for the Glasgow...

16 March 2013

By Lucy Amis, Human Rights and Sport Specialist, Unicef UK; Reseach Fellow, IHRB

Progress in Corporate Accountability

Last week Human Rights Watch released its 2013 World Report. It includes an essay by Senior Researcher Christopher Albin-Lackey decrying the hard won and widely adopted UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs) as being “woefully...

04 February 2013

By John Ruggie, Patron, IHRB

London 2012 Olympics: What Legacy for Business and Human Rights?

As the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic experience draws to a close, and the dust starts to settle on Her Majesty the Queen’s James Bond cameo, British-Somali immigrant Mo Farah’s double gold-winning middle-distance running success, and London’s...

11 September 2012

By Lucy Amis, Human Rights and Sport Specialist, Unicef UK; Reseach Fellow, IHRB

Making the Market a Force for Good

This op-Ed was originally published on TheGuardian.com.

Many companies already understand the important role they play in supporting the wellbeing of communities, but what can be done to ensure social responsibility becomes a key part of corporate...

25 June 2012

By Saba Salmon, Freelance social affairs journalist, commissioning editor and blogger, and regular contributor to Society Guardian

What Should Companies do when States Offer Prime Land on a Platter?

This op-Ed was originally published on TheGuardian.com.

Companies investing in land in Africa and elsewhere need guidelines to ensure the human rights and dignity of local communities are protected

During a recent visit to Kampala, Uganda, we...

06 May 2012

By Wambui Kimathi, Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB

The Hidden Impacts of Large Infrastructure Projects on Children

This op-Ed was originally published on TheGuardian.com.

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...

03 May 2012

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

The Dow Side of Corporate Sponsorship

This op-Ed was originally published on TheHindu.com.

Coke and GE then, Dow now.

But there is a crucial difference: no one was accusing companies sponsoring the Beijing Games of being complicit in human rights abuses in Darfur. In Dow's case, many...

22 February 2012

By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB

Time to establish human rights criteria for selecting corporate sponsors

The resignation of Meredith Alexander from the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 Olympics raises the question of the factors organisers consider in deciding supporters for such major events. Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of the Olympics has been...

31 January 2012

By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB

Conflict no excuse for business to act irresponsibly

As violence in Libya continues, tens of thousands of people of different nationalities, many of them migrant workers from countries ranging from China to India, Ethiopia to Nigeria, await ferries that can take them to safety across the...

15 March 2011

By Mary Robinson, Patron, IHRB

Universal Children’s Day - End the Worst Forms of Child Labour

November 20 marks Universal Children’s Day. Established by the United Nations over 50 years ago, it is a day to encourage countries to initiate action to promote the welfare of children. This year Anti-Slavery International is calling upon the...

18 November 2010

By Joanna Ewart-James, Supply Chain Co-ordinator, Anti-Slavery International

Are Current Approaches to Responsible Supply Chain Management Working?

Sustainable or responsible supply chain management (RSCM) emerged in the 1990s as an important part of the corporate responsibility (or corporate social responsibility - CSR) discourse. Over the past two decades, leading corporations have...

12 August 2010

By Sune Skadegaard Thorsen, CEO of GLOBAL CSR

Where is CSR Heading?

The global economic crisis has shaken the manufacturing industry to its core over the last couple of years, and the impact on workers has been palpable around the world.

The economic and social turmoil placed a tremendous responsibility on all of...

21 July 2010

World Cup, South Africa 2010 – Facing up to Responsibilities

The World Cup is a major event for South Africa. Appropriately enough, it is being celebrated as an international vote of confidence not only in the country, but also the continent. While stories of despair often dominate news from Africa, many of...

15 June 2010

By Steve Ouma

Checking in on Corporate Human Rights Reporting

At the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) biennial conference last week, one of the sessions was dedicated to “the Future of Human Rights Reporting”. The panelists, drawn from diverse sectors, covered a wide range of issues.

These included the...

31 May 2010

By Elizabeth Umlas, Independent researcher and consultant

Further Steps Taken to Operationalise the Protect Respect and Remedy Framework

On 9 April the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on human rights and business, John Ruggie (the SRSG), issued his 2010 Progress Report [24 pages, 146kb] (the Report) on the operationalisation of the “protect, respect and remedy”...

25 May 2010

By Peter Muchlinski

Putting the Protect, Respect, Remedy Framework into Practice

Last week, the latest report under my mandate as Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General on business and human rights was released in advance of the June session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. This is my last interim report before I...

29 April 2010

By John Ruggie, Patron, IHRB

Knowledge of Human Rights Risks - Company Friend or Enemy?

Is knowledge of human rights risks a company’s friend or its enemy? No one likes bad news, and messengers who deliver it may choose to do so gingerly. But it’s critically important for a company to investigate, understand, and act on facts - however...

03 March 2010

By John Sherman, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Small Change - Why Business Won’t Save the World

What’s the best way for business to contribute to realizing human rights? I’ve been pondering that question over the last few days in the light of Google’s decision to oppose censorship and protect the email accounts of activists in China, going so...

19 January 2010

By Michael Edwards

Timberland - Business Willing to Engage but a Multi-Stakeholder Effort Needed

IHRB's Executive Director John Morrison wrote a compelling post in late September about the need for rapid scaling of progress on human rights – a view we wholeheartedly share. It has taken us 15 years to get to where we are – to create what can...

30 November 2009

By Jeffrey Swartz, President & CEO, The Timberland Company

Operationalising Human Rights - How Hard are Companies Trying? 

Our commentary on the Trafigura case highlights how a combination of weak governance and business expediency can result in negative impacts on human rights. But what exactly should business do to prevent such situations arising in the first place?

...

29 September 2009

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB