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New Portal Exposes How Companies Impact the Core Rights of Workers

Published 06-06-12

Submitted by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Today the non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launched an online portal on “Business & Freedom of Association”.

    Menno Kamminga, Professor of International Law at Maastricht University and Resource Centre board member, said: “The Centre created this portal to make it transparent for all to see which companies are respecting – and which are not respecting – the internationally-recognised human right of workers to form unions and to defend their rights.”

    The portal provides up-to-date information on issues ranging from companies preventing workers from organising, to dismissal of workers because of their union membership, to killings of trade unionists, to positive initiatives by companies.

    The portal was launched today at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, at a joint event co-organised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, with participation of Coca-Cola’s Director of Global Workplace Rights.

    Mauricio Lazala, Resource Centre Deputy Director and manager of this project, said: Too often labour rights and human rights are treated as two separate issues.  We hope this portal will remind people that the right of workers to organise is a fundamental human right.  The portal will give practical assistance to NGOs & trade unions, companies, governments, media, investors, academics, consumers and others.

    Features of the portal include:

    • Issues: news and reports on subjects such as interference with the right to form trade unions or the right to strike, and corporate lobbying undermining union rights
    • International standards relating to freedom of association
    • Positive company initiatives that promote union rights; joint initiatives with trade unions
    • Alleged abuses: including dismissal, harassment, death threats, killings
    • Company responses that we seek when abuses are alleged
    • Lawsuits against companies
    • Practical guidance

      The portal is accessible free of charge.  It comes from a broad range of sources, including labour rights organizations, trade unions, companies, the ILO and the United Nations.  The content is predominantly in English, with some items in Spanish and French.  More material will be added on a regular basis, including in Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese and Russian.

      Speakers at the launch event at the ILO in Geneva are:

      • Mauricio Lazala (Deputy Director) and Danielle McMullan (Researcher), Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
      • Stephen Benedict, Director, Human and Trade Union Rights Department, International Trade Union Confederation
      • Ed Potter, Director, Global Workplace Rights, The Coca-Cola Company; Employer Spokesperson for the ILO Committee on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work

      At the same event, the ITUC will launch its Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights.

      The Resource Centre encourages people from all regions to send us suggested additions for this portal.  Our researchers based in Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Senegal, South Africa, UK, Ukraine and USA will be in close touch with labour rights defenders, trade unionists and business people in their regions, to ensure we highlight their concerns and initiatives.

      The portal and the entire Resource Centre website are engineered by Jamkit, specialists in web solutions for the not-for-profit sector.  Jamkit is part of the Blue Fountain Systems group of companies. 

      Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (www.business-humanrights.org) tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of 5100 companies in over 180 countries.  It is updated hourly and provides guidance tools to assist all those working in this field.

      Mary Robinson chairs its 70-member International Advisory Network.  Its 23 Academic Partners include leading institutes in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.  For further information about the Resource Centre, see the “About us” section of the website.

      The Business & Freedom of Association Portal joins the Resource Centre’s other portals:

        If you have questions about the portal please contact:

        Mauricio Lazala, Deputy Director (based in London):
        lazala@business-humanrights.org
        ; tel +44 (20) 7636 7774; mobile +44 7432 669893

        Danielle McMullan, Researcher (based in London):
        mcmullan@business-humanrights.org
        ; tel +44 (20) 7636 7774

        See the Resource Centre website for contact details of additional team members based in other countries.

        SUPPORT THE RESOURCE CENTRE: Please consider making a donation to help us continue to provide these resources for free.  To avoid any possible perception of a conflict of interest, the Resource Centre does not accept donations from companies.  Donations from individuals and foundations are therefore essential for our work to continue.

        Business & Human Rights Resource Centre logo

        Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

        Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

        The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit that promotes greater awareness and informed debate about human rights issues relating to business. Our website is updated hourly with news and reports about companies’ social and environmental impacts worldwide, including alleged abuses, positive steps, and company responses to concerns raised about their conduct. The site has sections on over 4000 companies. It also includes special resources such as all materials issued by the UN Special Representative on business & human rights; a list of companies with human rights policies; profiles of lawsuits against companies. Mary Robinson is Chair of our International Advisory Network. Visit the website for further details and to sign up for free Weekly Updates. See website for contact details of our New York office and team members in Hong Kong, India, South Africa, UK, Ukraine, USA

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