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Profiting in a repressive regime will do irreparable damage to the reputation. 'Sir Geoffrey Chandler'




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Business and Human Rights


             No Free Trade Pacts Without Reform !

The United States and the European Union should not sign free trade deals with the UAE until it ends its mistreatment of foreign workers.

One of the world’s largest construction booms is feeding off of workers in Dubai, but they’re treated as less than human. It’s no surprise that some workers have started rioting in protest. What’s surprising is that the government of the UAE is doing nothing to solve the problem.
       Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW)
                                             View Full  Text


Business is advisable with 'commendable' states, that is, towards countries in which the minimum standards of the state of law are respected. If ignored it would be like the Aspidistra, a plant which requires no attention till it breaks its pot, and when done, it needs to be put in a fresh compost. ........  Testimony

"Corruption and the use of private security forces are two issues with direct impact on businesses".  ... Because human rights are not a luxury for good times. Human rights are important for business at all times, but particularly so now when public confidence is at its lowest. In the long term, human rights are fundamental for stable, open societies which businesses need for their operations. Conversely, an environment in which human rights are regularly and seriously abused is a risk factor for companies. 

Irene Khan. 
(Irene Khan's speech at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Jan,23, 2003.  Amnesty International)

"Can you imagine doing business in a society where your staff are at risk of being arrested, detained or exiled for no apparent reason? It is not rare, there have been numerous examples of late of business people being detained. Will expatriate staff be willing to stay? Can you afford to lose the investment in recruiting, training and developing individual local staff?".... Mary Robinson.  

Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 
(The Business Case for Human Rights)

"Companies should develop codes of conduct which are consistent with international standards on human rights. They should also ensure that they are implemented by all partners and sub-contractors. .......And the performance should be monitored independently and reported publicly". Pierre Sane. 

Secretary-General of Amnesty International 
(Why Human Rights Should Matter to the Business World)

"The structures that protect human rights protect your business as well." 

Human rights organizations are giving increased attention to the subject of business and human rights. The last few years business and human rights has become one of the more important new topics on Amnesty’s long-term agenda.

"What human rights can do for you"

Amnesty International’s 1997 brochure for business people 
("Your business deserves a strategy", AI Index ASA 01/03/97)

w Human rights are about respect for the people in your business and the society within which you operate.

w Human rights ensure the protection of law and accountability of governments to businesses and individuals alike. 

w Human rights can protect you and your employees. 

w Human rights can contribute to the stability a country needs for its economy to grow. 
w Human rights are about being the kind of company and the kind of country that others want to do business with.

w The structures that protect human rights protect your business as well.

Business needs integrity in national legal and fiscal systems so that:

w you have recourse to law and are not subjected to arbitrary decisions or summary justice; 

w your reputation is not damaged by association with corrupt or criminal practices; you have a secure investment climate; 

w your intellectual property rights are protected; 

w you have the economic stability you need to plan for growth. 

Business needs transparent government so that:

w your success does not depend on "connections" with the right officials;

you are less vulnerable to abuses of power and arbitrary decisions; 

w you are able to obtain the information you need on business and economic issues; risk of civil unrest is diminished." 

As Sir Geoffrey Chandler has said, there is no room for moral neutrality. Corporations which think they can remain silent will be doomed; 

"they will be perceived as not just profiting in a repressive regime but as profiting from a repressive regime, and that will do irreparable damage to their reputation".

(Sir Geoffrey Chandler is the former Shell senior executive who headed the UK National Economic Development Office and who is now Chair of the Amnesty International British Section business group) 

Mr. John Kamm, remarked on the occasion of accepting the Best Global Practices award: 

"Promoting respect for human rights and rule of law is good for business, and business people – with the resources at their disposal, their negotiating skills and most of all their relationships – are uniquely qualified to do so."

(Mr. John Kamm is a U.S. based businessman whose company received the 1996 "Best Global Practices Award" from the United States Department of Commerce for its promotion of human rights in China)

Companies are exhibit little concern to human rights abuses for fear that mentioning them might endanger the growth and expansion of their business. It's not a right sign, at least they should take human rights issues seriously. 

The sovereignty is limited with respect to human rights. International supervision is valid and states are accountable to international authorities for domestic acts affecting human rights. 

Fundamental human rights are designed to protect the inherent dignity of the human person, no matter what his or her culture or background: no person in any society should be tortured, or enslaved, or arbitrarily killed, or imprisoned without a fair trial, or deprived of fair access to food or education. These rights are set forth in international instruments which have been adopted by countries from all regions of the world.

"All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence". 

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Victims of Injustice, United Arab Emirates



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