27.11.2019, Genf

A Business and Human Rights Approach to Arms Exports: Responsibilities and Accountability

27.11.2019, 08:00 Uhr
Hotel Intercontinental Genève
Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 7-9, 1209 Geneva

The defence industry, even though being a high-risk sector, has so far escaped scrutiny in relation to its responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). With governmental authorization, arms are exported to states engaged in armed conflict – despite documented violations of human rights or international humanitarian law – or to states with a risk that the arms might be used for internal repression or in the commission of human rights violations. This constitutes a clear violation of the UNGPs, especially as arms exports not only fuel conflicts, but also contribute to the suffering of the population involved.

Amnesty International, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung invite you to a breakfast panel discussion on the defense industry’s lack of human rights due diligence and the states’ duty to prevent business-related human rights abuses under the UNGPs and OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The speakers will give insights into their latest research and discuss concrete suggestions for legislative reform and for adequate human rights due diligence companies.

Prof. Anita Ramasastry, UW Law Foundation Professor of Law and member of the UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, will moderate the discussion.


Dr Tara van Ho, University of Essex, School of Law and Human Rights Center, will look at how governments currently live up to their duty to protect in the framework of arms exports.

Patrick Wilcken, researcher Arms Control, Security Trade and Human Rights at Amnesty International, will discuss Amnesty’s research on the human rights policies and practices of leading companies operating in the defense sector as well as concrete recommendations for human rights due diligence by the defense sector.

Christian Schliemann, legal advisor at ECCHR, will present ECCHR and FES’s recent study on arms trade, due diligence, accountability and the need for legislative reform, including access to remedy in administrative and criminal courts for arms exports.

Breakfast will be provided during the event. We look forward to welcoming you and kindly ask you to register via email to: Katharina.Lepper@fes.de


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