Report praising companies on human rights criticised as 'whitewash'

21 October 2016 - 7:30am
War on Want in the news

A new report from the Charities Aid Foundation and the LSE says companies are promoting human rights but has been criticised by human rights organisations, writes Oliver Balch. War on Want in the Guardian

Thulsi Narayanasamy, Senior Programmes Officer (Asia and the Pacific) at War on Want, said:

"To suggest that corporations would stand with Civil Society Organisations  in opposition to government crackdowns demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the irreconcilable nature of the private sector’s profit motive and the social and environmental concerns of civil society.

"The idea of shared goals between corporations and groups working for justice has been used as a tool to whitewash the exploitative nature of many private sector industries, from the extractive companies through to fashion and electronics brands.

"Congratulating international garment companies for intervening to stop state repression of worker protests without mentioning that the same companies are creating the causes for the protests - resisting minimum wage increases and better factory conditions – is at best flawed, and at worst a deliberate misrepresentation of the exploitative nature of these companies.

"It is not the responsibility of civil society groups to ‘motivate private sector stakeholders’ to respect human rights. We are demanding strong regulation and accountability of the private sector. Why are we providing them with a choice about whether or not to respect human rights?"

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