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British firms could be linked to slavery, murder and ecological abuse overseas – NGO

Hundreds of British firms operating abroad may be implicated in severe human rights abuses such as modern slavery, poverty-level wages, beatings, killings and environmental damage, an international NGO warns.

A report released by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre on Wednesday found that British businesses impact heavily on communities and individuals around the globe.

The NGO’s research suggests UK firms are linked to human rights scandals worldwide, many of which occur in developing nations.

This improper conduct is compounded by “critical weaknesses” in UK regulation that leave victims in foreign states defenseless against firms’ “negligent or reckless” practices, the research found.

Out of sight, out of mind?

The Resource Centre monitors the human rights impacts of more than 6,000 firms in over 180 states. When human rights concerns are raised by civilians, it approaches the firms in question and sounds them out.

Since 2005, the Resource Centre has contacted 303 UK-based firms across the world about allegations of human rights violations.

The NGO’s report says the majority of these allegations center on UK firms’ practices abroad, particularly in the Global South. Its research uncovered “critical weaknesses in UK Government policy and action on business and human rights.”

While firms’ conduct in Britain is regulated, improper practices of UK companies operating abroad regularly “go unpunished,” the NGO said.


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