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Business and Human Rights Workshop

20 August 2009 at 3:23 pm
Staff Reporter
Corporations can be held accountable for complicity in human rights violations regardless of where they may have been committed in the world.

Staff Reporter | 20 August 2009 at 3:23 pm


Business and Human Rights Workshop
20 August 2009 at 3:23 pm

Corporations can be held accountable for complicity in human rights violations regardless of where they may have been committed in the world. 

Cases about alleged abuses have been brought before the courts in a number of countries including Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. 

In early June Europe’s largest oil company, Shell, paid US$15.5 million to settle a court case in New York related to human rights allegations.  

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer also recently settled a claim involving alleged human rights violations. The details of the settlement are private but have been reported as being up to US$75 million.
These settlements have international significance in helping to establish principles that go beyond these specific cases. It is vital to keep abreast of these current developments.
Momentum Partnerships is running an interactive workshop in Sydney on  September 10th to provide an introduction to Human Rights, International Law and the United Nations System relevant to business, an overview of key international developments, examples of industry specific and individual business initiatives promoting human rights and some of the challenges, lessons learned and results achieved.
Prof. Brian Burdekin AO, one of the foremost authorities on international human rights, is one the presenters. He will be joined by panellists from leading corporations and civil society including Mr Mitchell Landrigan, Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Telstra Wholesale;  Mr Alex Gosman, External Affairs Advisor ,GlaxoSmithKline, Australia; Bill Hartnett, Head of Sustainability Solutions Asia Pacific, RiskMetrics and Rohan MacMahon, Co-Founder, Business Group, Amnesty International Australia.

Prof Brian Burdekin AO, former Federal Human Rights Commissioner says the importance of the private sector in protecting human rights has almost invariably been underestimated and, frequently, overlooked entirely. 

Prof Burdekin says in an increasingly interdependent and "privatised" world this situation cannot continue without very serious consequences–not only for individuals affected by human rights violations, but also for the corporate sector and the governments responsible for regulating it. 

He says achieving an appropriate regulatory balance will only be possible with a more informed and engaged contribution from business people –as well as civil society and bureaucratic advisors.  

For more information go to  and download a copy of the brochure and registration form. 

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