Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms & Human Ri...

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KMC-11-185 (Abbe-Bogen Faculty Lounge) NYU Stern School of Business

44 West 4th Street

New York, NY 10012

United States

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As restrictions on civic freedoms mount in countries across the globe and the people protecting our basic rights are increasingly under attack, what responsibilities do businesses have to support human rights and those that defend them? And can they afford to stay silent?

Business and civil society operate in and benefit from a “shared space” - one defined by strong rule of law, accountable governance and respect for freedom of expression, association and assembly. Civic freedoms allow people to ask questions, express opinions, propose solutions to social problems, and press governments to fulfill their responsibility to protect human rights. They also enable innovative, profitable and sustainable business that supports economic prosperity and diminishes social inequality.

Yet across the globe restrictions on civic freedoms are on the rise and those defending human rights face increasing threats and violence, with nearly 1500 recorded attacks on human rights defenders working on cases linked to business since 2015. Many companies have been exposed as being complicit, aiding and abetting, or even directly involved in these attacks.

This event will explore why and how companies should support civic freedoms and human rights defenders around the world, drawing upon recently launched guidance, Shared Space Under Pressure: Business Support for Civic Freedoms and Human Rights Defenders, commissioned by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and International Service for Human Rights. The speakers will address the normative responsibility, business case and moral choice that should inform company action and the potential risks of action and inaction alike. Recent examples of company engagement and action will be highlighted across many geographic contexts and sectors.

The guidance complements two related reports, “The Business Case for Civil Society”, by Rights CoLab & DLA Piper, and “The Business Case for Protecting Civic Rights,” by the B Team (with V-Dem), which explore why it is in the best interest of companies to take action in support of civil society and how limits on important civic freedoms are linked to negative economic outcomes.

Speakers

  • Michael Posner, Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics & Finance and Director of The NYU Stern School of Business Center for Business and Human Rights.
  • Bennett Freeman, Principal author of “Shared Space Under Pressure”; Principal, Bennett Freeman Associates LLC; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, United States (1999-2001).
  • Bobbie Sta. Maria, Director for Labour Rights and Asia, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

Date and Time

Location

KMC-11-185 (Abbe-Bogen Faculty Lounge) NYU Stern School of Business

44 West 4th Street

New York, NY 10012

United States

View Map

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