11:09 GMT15 April 2021
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    Business & Human Rights Resource Centre's communications officer said the UK should start holding its large companies criminally accountable for violations of human rights abroad after reports appeared on Wednesday that UK companies may be contributing to human rights abuses outside of the country.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — The United Kingdom should explore possibilities to hold large companies and corporations criminally accountable for violations of business and human rights outside the country, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre's communications officer told Sputnik on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, the center stated that UK firms may be contributing to grave human rights abuses abroad, even such as modern slavery, forced labor and union busting.

    "It [the UK government] should also explore existing avenues to hold corporations criminally accountable for abuses abroad," Joe Bardwell said speaking of the steps needed to be taken by the next UK government to keep momentum on business and human rights.

    Bardwell also told Sputnik that the country must amend the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, the parliamentary statute on reforming the justice system, in order to "make it feasible for law firms to take on cases of corporate abuse abroad and ensure victims receive fair compensation."

    In its Wednesday briefing, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre stated that even though companies’ actions are regulated within the United Kingdom, firms responsible for abuses overseas often go unpunished.

    Bardwell also said that the United Kingdom falls behind Germany and France and beats the United States in a response rate on human rights abuse allegations by the country's corporations.

    The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre puts the UK response rate at 77 percent, with Germany and France showing 88 and 83 percent, respectively. The United States, Russia and China got only 72, 56 and 50 percent, respectively.

    The group's communications officer Joe Bardwell noted that it is "encouraging that UK companies are open to responding publicly when allegations are raised."

    He specified that responding to such allegations does not necessarily mean "directly addressing them but does demonstrate a willingness to engage."


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    corporations, violation, human rights, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, United Kingdom
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