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Together with the Global Compact Network Switzerland (GCNS), DCAF and the ICRC will be co-hosting a workshop on September 14, 2017 entitled “Addressing human rights and security issues for businesses operating in complex environments”. The workshop will foster a discussion with companies from different sectors about the principal security and human rights issues that arise in their operations. Participants will learn about existing guidance and resources to proactively tackle these challenges and will discuss their sector-specific problems in the field of security and human rights. These discussions will inform the development of new tools and guidance for companies facing security and human rights challenges. For more information and the registration form please access the GCNS platform here

DCAF and the ICRC will be presenting their current work on Business, Security and Human Rights at the following events:
 
  • 21 February 2017 - Webinar with the United States Council for International Business (USCIB)
  • 1 March 2017 - Workshop with the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), Ottawa
  • 1 March 2017 - Presentation at the VPs pre-plenary meeting, Ottawa
  • 2 March 2017 - Presentation at the VPs annual plenary, Ottawa
  • 6 March 2017 - Presentation at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention CSR Events Series, Toronto 

The 5th Conference on Business, Conflict and Human Rights is organized by the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP), in collaboration with DCAF, on 17th November in Geneva. The Conference will bring together a wide range of researchers, practitioners and NGO representatives to discuss corporate accountability, latest developments in the field, and other business, security and human rights issues. To register and to access a detailed program, please click here.  

The Business and Human Rights Resource centre has launched a Community Action Platform that provides tools and resources for business-affected communities and NGOs working with them, including peer-learning, guidance, case studies, and a directory of practitioners. While the Platform is primarily aimed at communities, companies can benefit from the wide range of resources addressing key business and human rights issues, such as impact assessments, monitoring, and indigenous peoples’ rights. To find out more, visit the Community Action Platform here.  

In their most recent Discussion Paper “Should I stay or should I go?”, SOMO reflects on the question of whether or not to disengage from a business relationship that fails to prevent, mitigate and remediate adverse human rights impacts. The primary purpose of the discussion paper is to identify key questions that urge further research and the development of practical guidance for companies, rights-holders and others stakeholders, including policymakers, on how companies can effectively and responsibly use disengagement to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts. The paper draws primarily on the UNGPs and OECD Guidelines, as well as interviews with recognised experts in the field. To access the full text, please click here

The ICRC has published a short article reflecting on their Business and Human Rights related work, including the joint DCAF-ICRC project Addressing Security and Human Rights in Complex Environments. To access the full article and learn more about the ICRC’s work with business actors to reduce the risk of human rights and IHL violations, please click here

This CDA paper establishes the basis for developing expert resources for companies dealing with the presence of armed non-state actors (ANSAs) in their operational environments. It does so through an analysis of the challenges that the presence and activities of armed groups can present to companies, and through an assessment of existing international guidance and standards. It was also published in the Journal Business, Peace and Sustainable Development (BPSD), Volume 2014, Number 4, November 2014, pp. 7-40(34) Greenleaf Publishing in association with GSE Research. To access the full paper and to learn more about CDA’s work on the topic, please click here.

The Institute for Human Right’s (IHRB) Nairobi Process and the Institute for Law and Environmental Governance (ILEG) have recetnly published a short discussion paper on effective stakeholder engagement for companies and communities. The paper clarifies the concept and purpose of stakeholder engagement and identifies the main aspects of an effective engagement strategy from a company as well as community perspective. To access the full discussion paper, please click here

International Alert’s new background paper ‘Why Conflict Sensitivity Matters for Business and Human Rights’ highlights how the principles of conflict sensitivity can enhance and provide additional considerations for companies conducting human rights due diligence in complex environments. The background paper identifies four key elements necessary for heightened due diligence in conflict-affected settings: 1) how investment choices are made, 2) how impacts are identified and accessed, 3) how to engage with stakeholders, and 4) how to enhance positive impacts on human rights. The paper will be followed by practical guidance on how to conduct human rights due diligence in conflict-affected settings – to be published by International Alert at the end of the year. For more information and to access the background paper, please click here.  

The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) has begun its pilot benchmark process evaluating 100 selected companies in the agriculture, apparel and extractives industries. The CHRB uses a detailed methodology aligned with the UN Guiding Principles and industry standards, ‘developed over two years in consultation with over 400 companies, industry associations, investors, governments, civil society representatives, academics and lawyers’. The benchmark is aimed to rate and rank major companies on their human rights policies, processes and practices, responses to human rights-related allegations, as well as overall transparency. The final scores of the pilot benchmark process will be published in November 2016. For more information on the CHRB, its objectives and methodology please click here

DCAF and the ICRC held a side-event at the recent Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights on challenges and opportunities for corporate-community relations in the context of security operations around extractive company activities. The side event offered a unique opportunity to have a multi-stakeholder discussion around identified challenges and receive direct input on good practices from the panelists and audience.

The DCAF-ICRC Project contributed a ‘Development in the Field’ article for the first issue of the new Business and Human Rights Journal, launched at the Fourth UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The short article highlights insights and approaches emerging from the DCAF-ICRC project ‘Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments’. It identifies key security and human rights challenges faced by companies, as well as lessons learned and good practices illustrated with real-life examples. Please click here or on the image to access the journal and article.

BHP Billiton released a new Economic Contribution and Payments to Governments Report disclosing payments made to governments during the 2015 financial year on a country-by-country and project-by-project basis. While financial transparency may not immediately be considered key to addressing security and human rights challenges, studies have shown that particularly company-community relations in complex environments benefit from proactive business transparency: mutual understanding can be fostered and conflict potential alleviated. The BHP Billiton report may hence be of interest to companies, communities and stakeholders that share a commitment for not only financial transparency, but also constructive and positive company-community relations. Please click on the image to access the full report.

This Oxfam briefing paper examines the publicly available corporate commitments of extractive companies regarding community rights and community engagement. “The results suggest increasing commitments to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the mining sector but disappointing trends in relation to the oil and gas sector and women’s participation in decision making.” Further, no companies examined for the report have made public commitment to uphold FPIC for non-indigenous project-affected people and FPIC policy commitments often lack detailed implementation guidance. The briefing paper includes a summary table that provides a valuable overview of the companies’ public commitments regarding community rights. Please click on the image to be redirected to the full briefing paper.

The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) recently launched the online platform ‘Human Rights Indicators for Business (HRIB)’. The interactive platform is the culmination of the Institute’s long-term work on identifying indicators that support companies and other stakeholders in the assessment of human rights policies, procedures and practices. To this end, the platform includes a draft Human Rights Compliance Assessment tool that consists of more than 200 questions and touches upon 1,000 indicators cutting across numerous aspects of corporate operations, including human resources, health and safety, product quality and marketing, communities, security, government relations and supply-chain management. Importantly the DIHR Institute “intends for the indicators to be a living document:  All actors with relevant knowledge and experience are invited to comment on the tool’s content, allowing us to make any necessary improvements. We see this as an interactive process between DIHR and all those concerned with business and human rights.”

For more information on HRIB platform, the Compliance Assessment tool and how to contribute to either please click on the DIHR logo. 

The OECD has drafted a guidance document to help mining, oil and gas companies address challenges related to stakeholder engagement. The guidance is primarily intended for site-level personnel and ‘stakeholder facing staff’, but also speaks to the executive management of extractive operations. The document has not been developed as a ‘how to’ guide on stakeholder engagement, nor does it establish new stakeholder engagement standards. Instead it aims to provide a framework that can help companies ensure due diligence throughout their engagement process. In short, the guidance assists companies identify, prevent and mitigate risks and potential adverse impacts with regard to stakeholder engagement.

The OECD is now inviting public comment on the draft guidance from the widest range of stakeholders possible, including government, business and civil society representatives, international organizations, and the general public. To access the draft guidance and to find more information on how to contribute, please click on the OECD logo.

The deadline for comments is the 5 June 2015.

This briefing paper, published by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, introduces the recent work of the multi-stakeholder Nairobi Process initiative in the emerging oil and gas sector in Kenya and situates it within the relevant international human rights standards and alongside other examples from Africa and Latin America on promoting and adopting the VPs. The paper offers a brief overview of the main security and human rights challenges to extractive industries in the East Africa region and draws key lessons and recommendations for companies, government and civil society on the management of security and the mitigation of risk of human rights abuses. Please click on the image to access the briefing paper.

The Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) published a report of a session entitled “Respect in Practice” which they co-organised on 2nd December 2014, as part of the third UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The report includes case studies on how extractive companies have embedded the UN Guiding Principles within their company policies and applied them in collaboration with civil society organisations. Please click on the image to access the full report.

This IHRB report records the insights and views shared at a multi-stakeholder dialogue in October 2014 organised in partnership with the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and with the support of the British High Commission. Held as part of the Nairobi Process, the event brought together for the first time Kenyan representatives from national government, counties, parliament, companies, civil society, defence and security providers and regulatory bodies to discuss jointly the issues at stake, with lessons shared from elsewhere in Africa on relevant tools such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

Analysing security and human rights in the context of the conflict and governance challenges facing Kenya, the report sets out possible next steps for continued stakeholder dialogue to promote positive changes in policy and practice in relation to the country’s extractives sector. Please click on the image to access the full report.

DCAF and the ICRC held a side-event at the recent Forum on Business and Human Rights introducing their joint-project and its aim to put the UN Guiding Principles, the VPs and other international standards into practice, taking into account different challenges and practical limitations on the ground. Panelists included representatives from one government, one company and one civil society organisation. Please click on the image to access the summary note outlining the main points relayed by the presenters and key issues of discussion raised by the audience.

DCAF and the ICRC are holding a ninety minutes side-event at the next Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights on Wednesday 3 December 2014, at 9:45, in Geneva, to present and seek inputs to their joint project “Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments”. The side-event will offer the opportunity to have a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the project’s aim to put the UN Guiding Principles, the VPs and other international standards into practice, taking into account different challenges and practical limitations on the ground. Panelists will include representatives from one government, one company and one civil society organisation. Please click on the image to be redirected to the OHCHR website for more information and the forum’s draft programme.

The Voluntary Principles participants have recently published a statement highlighting the importance of the content and process of drafting a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between companies and public security forces. The statement highlights the value of MoUs to, firstly, “delineate the respective duties and obligations with respect to the provision of security in and around the relevant operation”, and, to, secondly, provide “an opportunity to discuss … a range of human rights-related issues, and … generate opportunities for training for the public security forces.” Please click on the image to be redirected to the full statement.

DCAF and the ICRC are going to present their joint project "Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments" at the next IGF Organization and Information Fair on Wednesday 22 October 2014, at 14.30, in Geneva. The IGF is a voluntary partnership of 48 countries, launched in 2005, seeking to enhance the contribution of the mining sector to sustainable development. The IGF provides a platform for different stakeholders to share their expertise, knowledge and best practices on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

DCAF and the ICRC have partnered with the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University, the McGill/Université de Montréal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, the Centre for Security Governance and Rio Tinto, to work on the project “Global Actors and Community-Level Security: Developing Best Practices”. The project’s core aim is to improve standards of corporate social responsibility in the extractive industry by incorporating tools for security prevention, management and resolution, to transform the way international business engage with local communities abroad. The project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and will be developed over the course of the next three years.

The UK government has announced on the 21 August 2014 that “[m]ining, gas and oil companies registered in the UK will be required to report on the payments they make to governments in all countries they operate in as of 1 January 2015”. From 2016 onwards, these reports shall then be publicly and freely available online, creating greater transparency and accountability. Please click on the image to be redirected to a Publish What You Pay news report providing more detailed information on the requirements.

Global CSR and ViewWorld have recently launched a human rights identification app named ‘KnowShow’, which is aimed to support companies in identifying potential and actual adverse human rights impacts. The app not only allows companies to systematically collect data on different human rights aspects (aligned with the UN Guiding Principles), but furthermore enables them to actively engage (affected) stakeholders in identifying business and human rights concerns. Please click on the image to be redirected to the Glocal CSR website for more information on the KnowShow app.

The United Nations Global Compact Human Rights and Labour Working Group endorsed a Good Practice Note on companies’ internal organisation of the human rights function. In order to comply with their corporate responsibility to ‘respect’ human rights, companies must effectively embed and consistently organise this responsibility within their business structures – at all levels, functions and relationships. The Good Practice Note identifies and analyses a number of possible ‘models’ which companies have adopted and furthermore outlines their advantages and potential limitations. Based on those experiences, the Good Practice Note lastly “draws out some ‘emerging good practice guidance’ for companies, highlighting a series of questions that may help inform corporate decision-making on how best to organize the human rights function.” Please click on the image to be redirected to the Good Practice Note (PDF).

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) is a non-profit organisation drawing attention to the human rights impacts (positive and negative) of over 5600 companies, operating all over the world. BHRRC has recently launched their new website offering full navigation in 7 languages. The website is updated hourly with news and reports about business and human rights and always attempts to remain ‘fair and objective’ by representing all sides of debates and giving companies an opportunity to respond to allegations of misconduct before posting them. Topics covered include labour rights, conflict over natural resources such as land and minerals, internet freedom, privacy and freedom of expression, children, pollution and climate change, discrimination, access to medicines, security, tax avoidance, and trade and investment agreements. The portal brings together key materials on the particular issue, including news, cases, initiatives, tools and guidance. Please click on the image to be redirected to the new BHRRC website.

The International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers’ Association (ICoCA) has just launched its new website (www.icoca.ch) providing information about the initiative, its members, and membership admission criteria. The ICoCA is a multi-stakeholder initiative established in Geneva as a non-profit Association. The purpose of the ICoCA is to promote, govern and oversee implementation of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC) and to promote the responsible provision of security services and respect for human rights and national and international law in accordance with the Code. Please click on the image to be redirected to the ICoCA website.

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have just launched the first edition of the “Addressing Security and Human Rights Challenges in Complex Environments” Toolkit. The joint project has initially focused on developing two chapters of the Toolkit: 1) Working with host governments, and 2) Working with public security forces. The Toolkit is structured around key “Challenges” identified by companies (at corporate and field levels) surrounding the engagement with host governments and public security forces. For each listed “Challenge”, the Toolkit outlines and summarises good practices and recommendations and provides practical tools such as checklists, templates and case studies. Please click on the image to be redirected to the Toolkit.

In November 2013, the International Coordinating Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) published “The Business and Human Rights Guidebook for National Human Rights Institutions”. The Guidebook is aimed to help national human rights institutions ensure that States, companies and civil society fulfil their respective duties and responsibilities at the interface of business and human rights. The guidance outlines key challenges, general principles as well as practical examples and approaches. As of June 2014 the Guidebook will be available in Arabic, Spanish, French and English. It will furthermore be accompanied by an E-learning component, which is to be completed within 2014. Please click on the image to be redirected to the DIHR website for more information and the Guidebook and E-Learning component.

Shift recently published a research report, “Evidence of Corporate Disclosure relevant to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, outlining their findings on how companies currently report on their human rights performance. A particular focus on the research was furthermore on how the corporate disclosure relates to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The main findings indicate that “companies already disclose information about their human rights performance in relation to the key components of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, as set out in the UN Guiding Principles. However, most disclosure on human rights is at present limited to relatively general statements about process, with little information disclosed about how these relate to specific risks or impacts, or company responses to them.” Nonetheless, the report identifies examples of how a “fuller and more specific disclosure” on human rights performance can be accomplished. Please click on the image to be redirected to the report document (PDF).

The third Forum on Business and Human Rights will be held from the 1 to 3 December 2014 in Geneva. The main topics addressed will include: 1) Strengthening multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement, 2) Discussing national action plans to implement the Guiding Principles, 3) Exploring access to effective remedy, and 4) Identifying current and good practice. Registration will be open from June 2014 onwards and input and suggestions are welcome by all stakeholders until 1 July 2014. The same deadline, 1 July, applies to proposals for related side events. Please click on the title/image to be redirected to the OHCHR website for more information and the registration and submissions links. 

‘Measuring Business & Human Rights’ is a research project which “aims to advance the capacity of all corporate stakeholders to measure the degree to which companies meet their responsibility to respect human rights.” The project continuously identifies, constructs and analyses measurement tools, which companies and other stakeholders can use to analyse the human rights performance of their operations. The project website, hosted by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, publishes the research outputs such as discussion papers and articles and provides a comprehensive database of initiatives and tools featuring business and human rights indicators. Lastly, the project also includes a blog, hosted by the London School of Economics and Political Science, which facilitates a public forum to discuss common challenges in measuring corporate respect for human rights. Please click on the title/image to be redirected to the project website for more information and the tool database.

A new report by the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative (CSRI), the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM), and Shift identifies and analyses the (hidden) costs of company-community conflicts. The research highlights that the extractive industry often fails to aggregate and understand the full costs arising from conflicts with local communities. This, the authors state, is however important as it would constitute a strong incentive for companies to adequately prevent such conflicts through sustainable relationships with local stakeholders. Identifying the (hidden) costs can thus encourage companies to engage with local communities and implement the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Please click on the title/image to be redirected to the report document (PDF).

IPIECA has launched a set of practical tools that can be adapted by oil and gas companies and other organisations to address and manage community concerns as well as the impacts these concerns can have on business operations. The toolbox assists companies in creating and implementing Community Grievance Mechanisms and includes:

Training Pack – to introduce Community Grievance Mechanisms

How-To Guide – to develop a new Community Grievance Mechanism or to improve an existing mechanism

Template Procedure – a prototype Community Grievance Mechanism that can be adapted to the specific needs of a project site

Complaint Risk Assessment Tool – to assess an operation’s complaint exposure

Diagnostic Tool – to improve an existing Community Grievance Mechanism

Grievance Register – to monitor, track and learn from grievances/complaints

Please click on the title/image to be redirected to the IPIECA website for more information and the toolbox.

The Business Humanitarian Forum (BHF) and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs will co-host a conference on “Responsible Growth Paths: Policies and Practices from the Extractive Sector” on May 15/16 in Geneva. The conference will “provide a platform to discuss some of the most critical social, environmental and corporate governance issues the extractive sector is facing.” Participation from companies, key international organisations, missions, NGOs and academics is welcome. Please click on the title/image for the conference agenda and an online registration form to be filled in and send by the end of April.

Oxfam America is introducing a new community-driven tool created by Rights and Democracy, called ‘Getting it Right’. This tool will provide communities, practitioners and advocates with the knowledge to assess human rights impacts, suggest responses, and engage governments and businesses to take action to respect human rights. In order to put this tool into practice Oxfam America is seeking proposals from all sectors, countries, and organisations to fund a human rights impact assessment using this new tool ‘Getting it Right’. Please click on the title/image which will redirect you to the Oxfam America website for more information and an online proposal form. Proposals for the first round of the selection process are due by May 31, 2014 at 5pm EST.

The Human Rights and Business Country Guide was launched in December 2013 and is hosted by the Danish Institute for Human Rights in collaboration with partners around the world. The Country Guide is currently in a Pilot Phase providing specific business and human rights guidance on 10 countries, expanding to cover 40 countries by 2016. The Country Guide identifies valuable information for governments, companies and civil society organisations dedicated to protect and promote human rights in the context of business. For companies, it provides country-specific guidance to understand and address potential human rights risks and development initiatives. States can use the country information to review and reform policies and legislations to ensure respect for human rights in their own business affairs. Lastly, the Country Guide provides civil society organisation with information to “inform their research, advocacy and capacity building efforts.” Please click on the title/image for the Human Rights and Business Country Guide.

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