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.
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.”
Stronger oversight and compliance measures are needed to ensure the Government’s new modern slavery legislation is effective in combating forced labour, the Human Rights Law Centre said today.
The Turnbull Government’s second session as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN body responsible for protecting the rights and dignity of people all over the world, will begin in Geneva tomorrow.
On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse, twelve prominent Australian organisations have united to call on Australian brands that are lagging behind the rest of the industry to sign the 2018 Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord, developed in the wake of the building collapse that claimed the lives of more than 1100 workers in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013.
As the United Nations debates Eritrea’s troubled human rights record, an Australian mining company has taken the extraordinary step of appearing with the Eritrean regime to help it defend its actions.
Australian companies need to be held to account for human rights abuses they commit overseas, but Australia’s complaints system is woefully inadequate and in desperate need of reform.
The Department of Immigration revealed in Senate Estimates today that Australian engineering firm Canstruct was the only firm approached to tender for the contract to run Australia’s immigration detention centre on Nauru.
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.