Organisations go to IACHR to discuss human rights violations by companies

Civil society intends to take cases that are emblematic in the region to a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to discuss solutions for abuses related to business

On Wednesday 8 May, civil society organisations met at the IACHR (the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) to discuss abuses committed by businesses in the Americas, during a hearing in Kingston in Jamaica. The objective of the meeting is to reinforce the duty of each state in protecting against human rights violations in private initiatives, within their territories.

The hearing, entitled “Business and Human Rights in the Americas” is part of the IACHR’s 172nd Period of Sessions, which kicked off last Friday, 3 May, in Jamaica and will run until next Friday, 10 May. At this event, organisations from a number of different countries are to present up-to-date regional analyses of emblematic cases of violations by businesses in the Americas. The organisations will present concrete recommendations on how states could develop regulatory frameworks and effective reparation policies for the victims of rights violations by companies, for example the Brazilian cases of Mariana and Brumadinho.

“Developing standards and guidelines on how states can improve legislation and administrative systems surrounding reparation of abuses committed by companies, is fundamental in ensuring that corporate obligations are fulfilled.” Says Conectas lawyer Jefferson Nascimento, who will be attending the event. As well as Conectas, other organisations, who undersigned the request for the hearing sent to the IACHR, will be participating in the debate, including the Brazilian organisation Justiça Global and other institutions from Chile, Peru, Mexico and the United States.

The discussion will take place before the thematic hearing on reports of human rights violations by people affected by reservoirs and dams in Brazil. This hearing was called for by more than ten Brazilian organisations, including Justiça Global and MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams). The sessions unite civil society efforts in putting pressure on the Brazilian government to fulfil reparation measures for the victims of current crimes committed by companies in the country.

Violations of indigenous rights at stake

During the IACHR Period of Sessions, Conectas will also attend the hearing on the protection and guarantee of the rights of indigenous people in Brazil, requested by the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), together with International Rivers, Conectas, Fórum Teles Pires and Operação Amazônia Nativa. This event will be held on Thursday 9 May and will be attended by Glicéria Tupinambá, indigenous representative and member of APIB (Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil).

The hearing seeks to expose recent measures taken by the Bolsonaro government that jeopardize the continuity of the way of life of the indigenous peoples of Brazil, as well as their fundamental rights, for example the transfer of key functions of the Ministry of Environment to the Ministry of Agriculture and the threat of exposing indigenous land to the damage caused by the mining industry.

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