Human Rights Defenders

Business and Human Rights Defenders - Wilton Park Report

Meeting Report, 09 August 2019

There is a prevailing view that the relationship between human rights defenders and companies is adversarial.

Despite this, there are many examples of companies and NGOs working together to tackle human rights abuses towards a mutually beneficial goal. With the help of NGOs, civil society groups and human rights defenders themselves, many companies are working towards the mainstreaming of human rights concerns across their operations, whilst others are actively protecting human rights defenders and championing their causes.

This meeting, hosted by IHRB and Wilton Park, brought together a range of experts including human rights defenders, companies, academics and some international organisations and governments. Drawing on best practice from across sectors, industries and countries, the conference aimed to explore the barriers that limit discussions, identify strategies to overcome dilemmas in their interactions with one another, and develop proposals for joint action that includes a range of stakeholders. 

The meeting report is available on the Wilton Park website, and provides an overview of the discussions and conclusions, including focuses on: 

  • land rights and the protection of indigenous persons
  • internal reporting systems and due diligence frameworks to provide adequate protections to human rights defenders
  • how companies can support and protect human rights defenders taking a controversial stance
  • the role of trade unions in protecting the rights of workers in industries with complex global value chains
  • frameworks for cooperation and protection between business and human rights defenders

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