Business & Human Rights
Business can have a significant impact on the human rights of people in countries where they operate, particularly where those countries have weak regulatory and governance systems. Where Australian businesses are responsible for human rights abuses, it is vital that they are held accountable and that victims are able to access a remedy.
The Human Rights Law Centre works to ensure that Australian businesses are held accountable for the human rights impacts of their overseas operations. We also advocate for the Australian Government to protect against corporate human rights abuses.
Today, the Human Rights Law Centre welcomes the Federal Government’s appointment of Mr John Southalan as the first-ever Australian independent examiner charged with investigating reported instances of corporate misconduct by Australian multinationals.
Paying another company to run the Australian Government’s offshore detention centre on Manus Island will not end the suffering of the men still trapped on the remote island, the Human Rights Law Centre said today in response to reports the Morrison Government will terminate Paladin’s contract once another company is appointed.
Serious human rights abuses in the overseas operations of some of Australia’s most prominent companies have been highlighted in a major report by the Human Rights Law Centre.
Australia’s national security and intelligence agencies must be more accountable and transparent, the Human Rights Law Centre has told an independent national review.
At ANZ’s annual general meeting in Perth this morning, questions will be asked of CEO Shayne Elliott about the bank’s failure to compensate Cambodian farmers pushed off their land to make way for an ANZ-funded sugar plantation.
New laws to address forced labour in the supply chains of Australian companies passed today in Parliament, but human rights advocates say they don’t go far enough. The Modern Slavery Act will require large Australian companies and organisations to report annually on steps they are taking to address forced labour.
At the same time as children and their families are being medically evacuated from Nauru, it’s been reported today that Canstruct, a Queensland company, is set to make in the order of $150 million in earnings from the Australian Government for running the Nauru detention centre.
Despite reports today that all children and their families will finally be evacuated from Nauru and amidst mounting public pressure to end offshore detention, it’s also been reported that Canstruct has had its contract to run the Nauru detention centre renewed.
The Government’s new modern slavery legislation will not be effective in combating forced labour unless stronger compliance measures are implemented, the Human Rights Law Centre said today.
“The Australian government’s refugee policies have been internationally condemned as putting lives at risk. Businesses, including airlines, that actively facilitate and profit from this system are complicit in abuse and risk exposing themselves to serious reputational liability.”
Rana Plaza is often described as the garment industry’s “worst industrial accident”, but the industry practices that led to it were far from accidental writes Keren Adams.
If you are reading this on your computer, phone or tablet, chances are it was made in China by a worker like 18-year-old Xiao Ya.
Xiao left her home town in rural China to find work to help support her ageing parents. She got a job cleaning tablet screens in Guangzhou, in one of the big factories which produce 90 per cent of the world's electronics.
Australia’s offshore camps are a house of cards. They’re unsustainable and liable to collapse amid increasing corporate aversion to complicity in abuse, legal uncertainty and human despair.
Every day that the Manus Island and Nauru camps stay open, people suffer. Every day that Ferrovial operates those centres, it is exposed to risk, writes the HRLC's Rachel Ball.
Of the myriad issues inadequately covered in the 2010 Federal Election campaign, the issues as to Australian values and identity, and how these values shape the way we understand our role and responsibility in the world, must figure high. In the leaders' debate, for example, the only discussion of Australian foreign policy and our place in the world arose in the context of the 'Timor Solution' and the war in Afghanistan. This is not the way things should be. With real leadership, elections present an opportunity to tap into admirable but often latent aspects of national identity, a concept explored by Canadian political scientist Alison Brysk in her new book, Global Good Samaritans: Human Rights as Foreign Policy.
Google’s recent announcement that it will not tolerate censorship of its search engine in China raises significant issues as to the relationship of business and human rights; a relationship in which regulation has not kept pace with practice or public expectations. In his landmark 2008 report the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, Harvard professor John Ruggie, noted that the globalisation of business activity has not been matched by a globalisation of business regulation.
The Australian ‘reluctance about rights’ and the gap between international human rights law and Australian domestic law, policy and practice are well documented. Despite ratifying all of the major international human rights treaties, Australia has not fully implemented or incorporated their provisions into domestic law. Australia remains the only Western democracy without a legislatively or constitutionally enshrined charter of human rights.