Representatives of the Business Chambers and Trade Unions call for recognising the impact of business activities on human rights, and the incorporation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in state and business policy frameworks.
On 9 February 2017, Democracy Reporting International (DRI) launched its Briefing Paper “Recognising the Impact of Business on Human Rights: Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan” in Islamabad, Pakistan. The launch brought together over 30 stakeholders including members of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR), representatives of the business community, including members from the chambers of commerce, trade union leaders and activists, as well as civil society actors. Aside from discussing the content of the publication and its significance, stakeholders deliberated ideas for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in Pakistan. Participants acknowledged and appreciated the information regarding the UNGPs and linkages between business and human rights as binding commitments of member states.
DRI’s publication comes at a critical moment when Pakistan’s increasing economic stability and recognition of its status as one of the fastest growing economies provides an opportune time to discuss the impact of business on human rights. Exports rose by 37 percent during the last three years as a result of the GSP+ status, as recently recognised by the Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan.
DRI’s publication launch event proved useful in generating and informing discussions on international standards regarding the roles and responsibilities of the private sector in the protection and promotion of human rights in Pakistan, as well as highlighting key human rights issues for the Pakistani business sector. Shafique Chaudhary, member of the NCHR, appreciated the recommendations presented in DRI’s paper and assured stakeholders of NCHR’s involvement in taking up issues related to business and human rights.