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Business & Human Rights

Traditionally, the social justice sector has focused on the state's responsibilities to uphold human rights. There are, however, many other powerful actors that have a role to play here. Corporations have a long history of impacting on the rights of individuals and communities living in poverty where they operate, affecting everything from their environment to their social security. The Business and Human Rights Programme works toward ensuring that corporations respect human rights and are held accountable for violations. 

We also take this a step further by targeting the entities that fund these operations, including investors, banks and other financial institutions. Since many of the largest and most powerful corporations operate across borders, so do we – a great deal of our advocacy work takes place not only in South Africa but in the African Commission of Human and People's Rights, the United Nations and beyond. The Business and Human Rights Programme also takes a gendered approach to its work, mindful of the unique manner in which women and other vulnerable groups are affected by abuses committed by the private sector. 

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