RESOURCE: Researching Companies’ Impact on Disability Rights

Posted on 18 January 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Originally published at (We Can Do) at]

When many people think about human rights, we may often think about governments and their legal obligations in protecting those rights. But it is not only governments who share responsibility for respecting human rights–for both disabled and non-disabled people. Businesses and companies, too, must understand human rights and must understand how they must behave in order to respect these rights.

Some companies may do very well in upholding human rights–while others might do more poorly. Some companies might behave in an acceptable way toward some people but may still violate the human rights of others, including disabled people.

A database, run by the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, can help advocates find information about the human rights impact of companies around the world. This database links to articles and reports on more than 3600 companies in more than 180 developed and developing countries. The linked material is published by a wide range of entities including non-governmental organizations; companies and business organizations; the United Nations; the International Labour Organization; other intergovernmental organizations; governments and courts; policy experts and academics; social investment analysts; journalists; and others.

Some of the topics covered by the database include discrimination, the environment, poverty and development, labor, access to medicines, health and safety, security, and trade. The database links to both positive and negative reports about companies and their record in human rights. Companies have the opportunity to respond to any record in this database written about them.

One section of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center focuses on companies and disabled people. Readers can narrow down their search further by country or by company. This resource can help advocates gather more detailed information about how various companies in their countries treat disabled people. They can use this information to decide what companies they want to target for disability human rights education campaigns or other activities to protect the rights of disabled people. Database items are availabe in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German. More non-English content may become available in the future.

Learn how to use the site to find the information you want at

Learn what the Business and Human Rights Resource Center has done to make their site accessible to users with disabilities, including vision impairments.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Center encourages individuals and organizations to contact them with comments and with suggestions for items they should add to their database. Has your organization published a report about how a company or business in your country has treated disabled people? If so, you may wish to consider contacting the Business and Human Rights Resource Center to encourage them to link to your report on-line.

We Can Do learned about the existence of the Business and Human Rights Resource Center through a notice in Disabled People International (DPI)’s electronic newsletter. Further information and detail was gathered from the Business and Human Rights Resource Center web site.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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