Rethinking regional development agendas: Human rights and economic growth into perspective
Business-related human rights (BHR) infringements are site-specific violations of universal human rights caused by companies as they pursue their economic goals. They include cases of child labor exploitation and modern slavery in global value chains; of damages to human health and right to life following manufacturing industry’s toxic emissions; violation of indigenous communities’ right to land or water in connection with extractive industry operations, among others. Because aggregate data about BHR infringements are alarming, international organizations like the United Nations and the OECD have taken steps to make companies accountable for their negative impacts on human rights. Yet, considerations about BHR infringements seldom enter into regional economic growth agendas and policies, which are still largely influenced by the contentious idea that economic growth will eventually improve human rights. Current policies are thus largely unprepared to deal with the human suffering caused by companies as they allegedly contribute to growth and do not contemplate the prevention of, and remedy for, BHR infringements. In this project we seek to change this conversation and spark new policy thinking around these topical issues.