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Gender Discrimination, LGBTI Rights, Big Data, Mega-Sporting Events Amongst Top Ten Issues for 2016

10 December 2015

The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), a global think tank, today published its annual Top 10 list of business and human rights issues for the coming year. IHRB releases the list each year on 10 December – International Human Rights Day – the date the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948.

Now in its seventh year, IHRB’s annual Top 10 project prompts companies, governments and civil society to reflect on the past twelve months and look forward to key business and human rights challenges in the coming year.

This year’s list includes issues newer to the business and human rights agenda, including the implications for privacy of big data and the responsibilities of all involved in organising mega-sporting events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. The list also highlights long-standing challenges that continue to require greater leadership and joint action by business and other actors, including the urgent need to combat discrimination in all forms, the precarious situation of human rights defenders and the plight of those trapped in forced and bonded labour. 

Commenting on the launch of the 2016 list, IHRB’s Executive Director, John Morrison, said:

“IHRB’s annual Top 10 list is an important tool for raising awareness and urging action amongst governments, business and others responsible for ensuring economic activities do not come at the expense of fundamental rights.

“The need to protect human rights defenders who call for accountability when corporate actions lead to impacts on people is one of the ten priority issues we see for the year ahead. 2015 marked the twentieth anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders for their protest of Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta. Unfortunately, today the situation is not much improved in many countries – the space for civil society to operate is shrinking and human rights defenders are bearing the brunt.

“This year’s list also highlights the importance of ensuring responsible mega-sporting events. A lot will happen in 2016 – a new FIFA President will be elected, the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics will be held and a handover process for Tokyo 2020 will begin. These spectacles can encompass the full spectrum of business and human rights impacts, but there is not yet adequate commitment to respecting human rights by organisers, host cities, sponsors and the other actors involved in their delivery.”

The top ten list is selected by IHRB's expert staff,  informed by an online poll conducted by IHRB and three local polls conducted by IHRB’s regional centres for responsible business in Colombia,  Myanmar  and Kenya.   This year’s top ten list for the first time includes additional trends from these countries, which provides contrasts in global perspectives and priorities.



Contact: Haley St. Dennis, Communications Manager, Institute for Human Rights and Business – [email protected] / +44(0)7508878015

IHRBs Top Ten issues, which are not listed in order of importance, are:

  • Big Data, Big Business: Raising Awareness of Rights Implications and Ensuring Protections
  • Battling Discrimination: Sustained Business Leadership Key to Valuing Diverse Societies
  • Sustaining Momentum: Bold Leadership to Combat Forced Labour and Human Trafficking
  • Embracing Remedy: From ‘Forgotten Pillar’ to Key Tool in Identifying, Monitoring and Preventing Impacts
  • Leading by Example: Aligning States’ Policies and Implementing Due Diligence as Economic Actors
  • Righting Climate Wrongs: Business, Human Rights and Climate Justice
  • Mind the Gap: Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Defending Defenders: A Role for Business in Championing Civil Society
  • From Theory to Practice: New Levels of Human Rights Transparency and Measuring Corporate Performance
  • Rising to the Occasion: Making 2016 an Olympic Year for Human Rights and Mega-Sporting Events

The Top 10 list will be published at 9am GMT 10th December 2015 at:

Full narratives of the Top 10 issues, as they will appear when published, can be provided on request.

About IHRB

The Institute for Human Rights and Business is the leading think tank on the relationship between business and international human rights standards. IHRB works to shape policy, advance practice and strengthen accountability to ensure the activities of companies do not contribute to human rights abuses, and in fact lead to positive outcomes.

Media Enquiries

Haley St. Dennis

For any media enquiries please contact:

Haley St. Dennis

Head of Communications, IHRB

[email protected]

+1 801 910 3085

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