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Wednesday, December 1 • 3:25pm - 4:40pm
Responsible business in the defence sector

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Session organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights


Brief description of the session
This panel discussion session of the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights will focus on responsible business conduct in the defence sector. Panelists will explore how States and defence companies currently address human rights risks associated with defence sector products, examine the scope for enhanced ESG and sustainability efforts in the defence sector, and discuss how States and businesses can apply the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“the Guiding Principles”) going forward to prevent, mitigate, and remedy business-related human rights abuses that may be connected to the defence sector.

As the UN Charter notes, all nations have a legitimate right to self-defence in the face of attack; it is the sovereign right and responsibility of governments to provide security, in conformity with the rule of law. As such, producers of defence equipment play an important role in providing states with the necessary technology to execute their defence-related duties. At the same time, the inherently lethal nature of the equipment produced by the defense sector carries intrinsic risk of serious human rights abuses, particularly when exported into proven contexts of human rights abuse. This panel discussion will examine how the Guiding Principles can be used as a framework to reconcile these two dynamics in a way that enables the responsible export of defence sector products and addresses the heightened risk of human rights abuses connected to those products.

The primary aim of this session is to identify actionable steps that States and defence sector businesses can take to mitigate, prevent, and remedy human rights abuses.

Background reading
Working Group report: Guiding Principles on Business And Human Rights at 10: Taking stock of the first decade, available at https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/UNGPs10/Stocktaking-reader-friendly.pdf
Working Group report: Business, human rights and conflict-affected regions: towards heightened action, available at https://undocs.org/en/A/75/212

avatar for Anita Ramasastry

Anita Ramasastry

miembro, Grupo de Trabajo sobre las empresas y los derechos humanos
Sra. Anita Ramasastry es la profesora Roland L. Hjorth de Derecho y Directora del Programa de Posgrado en Desarrollo Internacional Sostenible en la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Washington. Investiga y enseña en los ámbitos de la justicia y el desarrollo, la lucha contra... Read More →

Alejandro Celorio

Head of the Legal Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico

Patrick Wilcken

Deputy Programme Director, Head of Business, Security, and Human Rights, International Secretariat, Amnesty International
I am currently exploring the responsibilities of defence companies, using the UNGP framework. My latest report can be found at: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/ACT3008932019ENGLISH.PDF
avatar for Ara Marcen Naval

Ara Marcen Naval

Head of Advocacy Defence and Security, Transparency International
avatar for Spencer Chilvers

Spencer Chilvers

Head of Export Control Policy, Rolls-Royce plc

Wednesday December 1, 2021 3:25pm - 4:40pm CET
Virtual Room 2