We urgently need a UK Business, Human Rights and Environment Act

At Anti-Slavery International, we’re calling on the UK government to introduce a Business, Human Rights and Environment Act.  

We believe that consumers should have assurances that the products they’re buying have not been made with forced labour. We believe that the government should create a corporate duty to conduct human rights and environment due diligence across operations and supply chains.  

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Anti-Slavery International is campaigning alongside the Corporate Justice Coalition and other organisations to make the case for a new Business Human Rights and Environment Act (BHRE). Our campaign shows how current laws are not strong enough to stop multinational companies profiting from forced labour. As we launch this joint campaign here’s how you can take action: sign our petition and call on your MP to stop companies washing their hands of human rights and environmental abuses. These abuses are taking place all around the world, including in the Uyghur region. 

“We Uyghurs are so grateful for the support and solidarity we’ve already received from the UK. But we need the law to make sure that big business stops selling goods made off the back of human rights abuses and environmental destruction.” Rahima Mahmut, UK Director, World Uyghur Congress

Today, we also publish a policy paper that outlines exactly what we believe the BHRE Act should include. Read the full paper, along with the executive summary here.

The proposed Business, Human Rights and Environment Act would: 

  • Compel businesses to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence 

Companies, financial institutions and the public sector would be required to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for human rights abuses, including modern slavery, and environmental damage caused by their operations, subsidiaries, and value chains 

  • Help to level the playing field between businesses and provide clarity and certainty on legal obligations: 

Currently, businesses taking appropriate steps to respect the human rights of their workers face considerable disadvantages against competitors profiting from lower costs gained through the exploitation of workers 

  • Hold companies and other organisations accountable for failure to prevent abuses through liability provisions: 

The inclusion of strong accountability measures and liability provisions are fundamental to compel effective action on modern slavery 

  • Enable victims of abuses, including modern slavery, to access justice: 

Currently, victims of modern slavery in UK company and public sector supply chains face enormous obstacles to access remedies or justice. The new law would provide victims of abuses with clear paths to access these 

The calls for stronger corporate due diligence laws are gaining traction around the world, with new laws in France, Germany and Norway and proposals in the EU, Austria, Switzerland and other countries. We’re calling on the UK government to step up and develop a robust law that has the power not just to hold businesses accountable for abuses in their supply chains, but also to provide victims with access to justice 

If you, like us, believe that the law should stop companies benefiting from forced labour and other human rights abuses in their supply chains, sign our petition today 

Let’s put people before profit. 

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