Join “From Moral Duty To Legal Obligation” UN Forum on Business and Human Rights Side Event
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Organizers: Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UNOG, B4Ukraine, Ukrainian mission to Geneva, BHRRC, ISHR

Date & Time: November 28, 2022, 6:30 pm — 8 pm

Venue: ISHR offices 5th Floor: Rue de Varembé 1, 1211 Genève, Switzerland

Concept Note:

Despite the abundance of news about the major global brands’ departure from Russia, there are fewer complete exits — a little over a hundred, while many major companies remain. B4Ukraine research shows that out of the top 50 highest-earning multinationals, 38 continue operating in Russia, receiving revenue, and paying taxes to the Russian budget. Over 1610 international companies still work in Russia at a full or limited scale. Altogether, they generate at least $171 billion of local revenue annually in the Russian Federation — according to the KSE Institute. Value chain analysis reveals that multinational companies’ significant investments, joint venture operations, and support services continue apace, especially in critical industries including oil and gas, banking and financial services as well as consumer goods.

With the announcement of the Russia’s partial mobilization, the companies and their subsidiaries in the country have been imposed a legal obligation to support the state in war efforts, effectively boosting the Russian war capabilities, contributing to the development of the armed conflict. If retreat from the Russian market and the exercise of heightened human rights due diligence was considered a high moral ground and an obligation under international standards, the mobilization call made the clearest demands on businesses: either support the conflict or leave Russia.

The proposed event will address business and human rights in the context of the Russian invasion. It will outline the obligations of foreign companies in the framework of the mobilization calls and legal arguments obliging companies to support the aggression. The presenters will discuss the evidence that indicates alleged complicity in the war by businesses in multiple sectors. Experts will also discuss heightened due diligence in international armed conflict and specifically in the context of Ukraine — and offer practical recommendations for corporate accountability related to Ukraine context and international jurisprudence.


Bennett Freeman — Former Senior VP for Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments and former US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor


Yevheniia Filipenko — Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Office in Geneva

Andrés Zaragoza — Business and Human Rights Programme Manager International Service for Human Rights

Andrii Onoprienko — Deputy Development Director of the Kyiv School of Economics and Data Lead for

Anita Ramasatry — Professor of Law and the Director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program at the University of Washington School of Law

Mike Lewis — Investigator. Former Head of Enhanced Investigations for Conflict Armament Research and a member of the UN Panel of Experts on Sudan in 2011

Nataliia Popovych — Founder at One Philosophy, Co-Founder at Ukraine Сrisis Media Center and Co-Founder, Resilient Ukraine (

Phil Bloomer — Executive Director at Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

This is a hybrid event. Please register for online participation here.

Deadline for registration: November 27, 2022

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