Migrant Workers

Frameworks for Change - The Tourism Industry and Human Rights

29 May 2012

Frameworks for Change

The roundtable sought to create a space for tourism and other interested stakeholders to explore what it means for the industry to take a human rights approach, and why this is integral to true sustainability. Building on Tourism Concern’s recent briefing, Why the tourism industry needs to take a human rights approach: The business case (2011) the meeting attempted to make clear the need for the sector to continue to constructively engage and align with international human rights standards, in particular, the business responsibility to respect human rights, as clarified in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for implementing the UN ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy’ Framework (UNGPs).

An overview of tourism and human rights issues and an introduction to the UNGPs, including the work of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, was followed by three panels exploring particular areas of risk for the tourism sector: water rights; land rights and indigenous peoples; and labour rights. A final panel examined existing tourism sector approaches that could be expanded and built upon, and sought to establish what needs to happen for tourism sector stakeholders to work effectively towards implementing their responsibility to respect human rights.

Key challenges identified included: the complexity and diversity of the business and human rights agenda, as well as the tourism sector itself; clarifying where roles and responsibilities lie; ensuring approaches are manageable; prioritisation of issues; the practicalities of human rights due diligence; undertaking meaningful, sustained community consultations; influencing and engaging supply chain partners; resource constraints; and the need for training and further practical tools and guidelines.

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