Kyrgyz journalists for human rights in business
November 28, 2022
Bishkek, November 25, 2022, UNDP has held series training sessions for media representatives including regional and journalists, staff of Information Policy Service of the Presidential Administration and press service of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce on the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”. The event was aimed at increasing the knowledge of the media workers on UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights on compliance with international human rights standards in doing business. The issues of human rights violations by businesses do not receive close attention in the local media. Even when cases of rights violations become widely known, journalists do not always conduct the necessary investigations, pay attention to the reaction of business to such violations, and conduct interviews with stakeholders. The UN Guiding Principles require companies to establish and participate in human rights redress mechanisms.
The training is part of a broader public information campaign on human rights in business, the first-ever of its kind in Kyrgyzstan. The Guiding Principles provide a way for businesses to contribute to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Thus, as a part of this activity, thirty journalists from Osh and Bishkek learned through practical sessions how to create content reflecting how human rights relate to business activities, including in the context of Kyrgyzstan and the participants received skills to recognize cases of human rights violations by businesses, learned how to study issues from different stakeholders (opinion of local communities, parent business companies, investors, trade unions and suppliers, etc.)
Sakhira Nazarova, journalist from Osh, shared after training that it helped her better understand two different areas and their interconnection: human rights and business. She shared an example from her experience: “This area is very relevant, for us, journalists and human rights activists, there is a lot of work. People complain about illegal dismissal, and if the employer is a private entrepreneur, how to defend their labor rights in the absence of the contract, social benefits. Workers do not know their rights, that they have 2 months after dismissal to appeal to the court. They do not know where to go for help. There are a lot of questions. After the training there are plans to make material about the work of trade unions of the Kyrgyz Republic to show how important they are in the protection of labor rights.”
Trainer of the workshops Ulanbek Shamshidin uulu, specialist in the field of human rights in business conduct explained that companies should be aware of their impact on human rights, to avoid violating them and resolve all possible consequences related issues. “If companies notice that caused harm or participated in causing harm, they must ensure the processes of compensation for harm. As it is explained in Guiding Principles, to ensure human rights the responsibilities of companies don’t depend on state responsibilities or capacity to protect human rights.”
These trainings are elements of a wide-ranging public information campaign to promote human rights issues in aspects of business practice in Kyrgyzstan within UNDP project Business and Human Rights (B+HR) funded by the government of Japan. With support of the project governments and other state authorities of 17 countries aiming to develop and implement National Action plans on Business and Human Rights or similar policies. The project will serve two main purposes: to guide companies to carry out Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) to assess, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts and to help the 17 target countries, including Kyrgyzstan, develop policies to tackle business-related human rights abuses.
Media Contacts: Nurzhan Alymkanova, UNDP communication specialist, email@example.com
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