GeSI members are engaged in efforts to promote human rights and responsible business practices. Our activities focus on supporting efforts to ensure that ICT products do not contain “conflict minerals” whose sourcing has been linked to human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries. We also promote labour and environmental standards in the ICT supply chain by developing educational programmes and assessment tools for suppliers to identify potential corporate responsibility risks.
During 2011 many activities and events occurred around business and human rights, and ICT and freedom of expression, and earlier this year we formed a working group to address such issues as part of our global policy work. The objectives of the GeSI Human Rights Working Group are to:
- Create a broader understanding of the ICT value chain among human rights and freedom of expression stakeholders;
- Share information on latest developments in business and human rights with particular emphasis on privacy and freedom of expression;
- Discuss practical means of implementing the new UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the ICT sector;
- Coordinate GeSI’s involvement and position in the European Commission’s project to develop human rights guidance for the ICT sector;
- Build on GeSI’s success in the areas of conflict minerals and e-waste, to create a broad, multi-stakeholder group that can openly discuss challenges and solutions to ICT and freedom of expression issues.
GeSI also holds a seat on the European Commission’s ICT Sector Advisory Group that is leading the development of human rights guidance for the ICT sector. Several GeSI experts having given stakeholder interviews on the issue of human rights for an issue paper developed as part of the project.