Organizers: B4Ukraine & Human Rights Now
Date & Time: January 31, 2023, 18:00 — 19:30 Japan time (9:00 — 10:30 GMT)
Virtual Venue: Online (ZOOM webinar). Please pre-register here. Participation is free.
Language: Japanese/English (simultaneous interpretation available)
Nataliia Popovych. Member of the Steering Committee for the B4Ukraine Coalition, civic activist, international communications expert and entrepreneur. She is the founder of One Philosophy and Resilient Ukraine ( www.weareukraine.info). She also serves on the board of the Ukrainian Institute, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, and she co-founded the Ukraine House, a cultural and diplomatic organization in Denmark. She is also co-chair of the Ukraine Communications Support Network.
Andrii Onopriienko. Member of the B4Ukraine Steering Committee and Deputy Director of Development at the Kyiv School of Economics. He is also project manager for the Leave Russia Project, which tracks and publishes information on companies’ decisions regarding continued operations on the Russian market.
Richard M. Stazinski. Member of the B4Ukraine Steering Committee and Executive of the Heartland Initiative, for which he is Director and Co-Founder. He has experience in research, nonprofit leadership, and government advocacy roles at Telos Group, Save Darfur Coalition, Citizens for Global Solutions, Stanley Foundation, the Max Planck Institute for Economics, and the Human Resource Investment Council for the State of Indiana.
Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began in February last year. Not a day goes by without hearing news related to it, and the number of civilian casualties continues to rise. As of 9 January 2023, 6,952 people have died (including 431 children), and 7,967,409 Ukrainian refugees are residing in Europe. Also, Russian citizens who speak out against the war continue to be persecuted. While there is no sign of an end in sight, there are concerns that the number of victims will continue to increase.
What can we do about this dire situation? One approach is to raise our voices towards international companies that they are not complicit in war crimes and serious human rights abuses in Ukraine, and that they rigorously verify whether or not there are any risks of complicity in human rights abuses through their business activities in Russia, and, if the results of their investigation show human rights risks that cannot be addressed, that they seek to withdraw responsibly.
In today’s world, there is a strong demand for companies to address human rights under the framework of “Business and Human Rights”. Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and they are required to identify and mitigate human rights risks in their supply chains, as well as to remedy human rights violations. They are also required to conduct heightened human rights due diligence, especially for business activities in Russia, a country in the dispute.
In Japan as well, the “Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights in Responsible Supply Chains”, which was announced by the government in September 2022, state that heightened human rights due diligence should be implemented in areas affected by conflicts, etc.
Given these international frameworks and domestic guidelines, are Japanese companies that are operating in Russia conducting heightened human rights due diligence? How many Japanese companies have withdrawn from Russia so far? What are the reasons for allegations that Japanese companies have not yet withdrawn their business? Is it fine if Japan does not have a law that requires companies to conduct human rights due diligence?
This webinar organized jointly with the Human Rights Now, aims to encourage companies to actively engage in responsible withdrawal from Russia based on respect for human rights. Human Rights Now is an international human rights NGO based in Tokyo, Japan with UN special consultative status. With over 700 members comprised of various human rights specialists, HRN works for the promotion and protection of human rights for people in the world, with a special focus on Asia.
In the webinar, we will report on the current status of human rights violations in Ukraine, introduce the efforts of the Business for Ukraine coalition, and report on examples of responsible withdrawal by overseas companies, as well as the status of responses by Japanese companies. Please join us to help stop this greatest human rights violation of war.
Application deadline: 19:00 on Sunday, January 29th. Japan time
Contact: info★hrn.or.jp (Please change ★ to @.)