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Panel on Voices from the Ground - Forum on Business and Human Rights 2018
26 Nov 2018 -  Short description of the session:
This trailblazing session will feature a panel made up of only human rights defenders and community representatives from all regions, who will speak frankly about their stories and experiences of working to improve business respect for human rights in their countries, as well as the attacks they are under because of doing so. The session will be divided into three parts: the first part with focus on ways in which they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals this year, the second part will identify the common challenges that defenders and community representatives face in their work, and the third part will outline what they want to see between now and the next forum. We will leave enough time for interaction with the audience after each segment.
This session will offer an insight into the lives and struggles of defenders and community representatives, and outline a set of their core challenges and expectations to businesses, investors and governments, thus setting the scene for the 7th Forum on Business and Human Rights.

Session objectives:
The session will provide a “reality-check” early on in the Forum, and outline a set of core challenges and expectations by defenders and community representatives to businesses and governments, thus setting the scene for the 7th Forum on Business and Human Rights. The goal of the first part will be discuss ways that they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals so far, the objective of the second part will be to identify common challenges that defenders face in their work, and the objective of the third part will be to for defenders and community representatives to voice their expectations to the forum (governments, businesses, and investors).

Key discussion questions:
1st part: focuses on ways in which they’ve successfully defended themselves and achieved their goals so far Question(s) to speakers: What was your main achievement in your work as a defender or community representatives this year? Why do you do what you do and what keeps you going? Sub-questions: What were the main things that helped you and your colleagues continue defending human rights in the context of business operations in your country over the past year (coalitions, partnerships, new approaches to work, financial support, new laws, support from community/ family/ friends, religion, etc.)

2nd part: focuses on challenges HRDs face in their work Question(s) to speakers: Who prevents you from advocating for rights in your country and how? What are the main types of attack you and your colleagues have faced in defending human rights in business operations in your country this year?

3rd part: focuses on what they would like to ask from the forum (govts, businesses, investors) - what do they want to see between now and the next forum

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
• Debbie Stothard, Secretary-General / Coordinator, FIDH/ ALTSEAN-Burma
Speakers
• Saeeda Kathoum, spokes-person, Ali Enterprises Factory Fire Affectees Association
• Sadhana Meena
• Olman Waldermar Mendoza, represents his fellow students and his community of San Jose de la Maquina in Western Guatemala
• Venasio Tokatokavanua
• Emmanuel Umpula, Directeur, AFREWATCH

Forum on Business and Human Rights)
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