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Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Focus on Promotion of Human Rights and Increasing Total Number of Participants

March 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Participants in the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (the “Voluntary Principles”) have gathered in Washington, D.C., this week for the two-day Annual Plenary Meeting.

Since their inception, the Voluntary Principles have been used by extractive companies to strengthen their capacity to address complex security and human rights issues in their operations around the world. Members of the Plenary include representatives from three pillars: governments, companies, and NGOs. There are currently seven member governments, eighteen companies, and nine NGOs participating in the initiative. This year, the Voluntary Principles are pleased to welcome Barrick Gold Corporation as a new corporate participant.

At the 2010 Annual Plenary Meeting, participants collectively adopted a vision to:

Strengthen the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights’ significance as a business and human rights best practice framework by: increasing our participants’ base, strengthening accountability, and actively promoting universal respect for human rights.

Consistent with this vision statement, during the past year, participants have focused on initiatives intended to promote the future growth of the framework, including the drafting of new entry criteria for governments, companies, and NGOs, as well as the creation of documents intended to facilitate outreach to potential participants in all three pillars. On March 21, 2011, to promote the Voluntary Principles with potential government participants, the U.S. State Department hosted an open house at which participants spoke with representatives of a number of interested governments regarding the benefits of joining the framework.

Participation in the initiative is voluntary. For questions on how to participate, contact the Secretariat at VoluntaryPrinciples@foleyhoag.com.

For more information about the VPs, visit www.voluntaryprinciples.org.

Background on the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

The VPs provide guidance to extractive companies on ensuring the safety of their personnel and the security of their installations in insecure environments while also respecting human rights. The initiative provides practical guidance to companies on how to do this:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of human rights risks associated with security, with a particular focus on complicity.
  • Institute proactive human rights screenings of and trainings for public and private security forces.
  • Ensure that the use of force is proportional and lawful.
  • Develop systems for reporting and investigating allegations of human rights abuses.

By ensuring that human rights are upheld, the VPs aim to mitigate potential tensions between extractive companies and the communities within which they work. They were established in 2000 by the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the U.S. Department of State.

The Corporate Social Responsibility practice of Foley Hoag LLP serves as the Secretariat for the Voluntary Principles.

For more information, visit www.voluntaryprinciples.org.


    Governments:
    Canada
    Colombia
    The Netherlands
    Norway
    Switzerland
    United Kingdom
    United States


    Corporations:
    Anglo American
    AngloGold Ashanti
    Barrick Gold Corporation
    BG Group
    BHP Billiton
    BP
    Chevron
    ConocoPhillips
    ExxonMobil
    Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold
    Hess Corporation
    Marathon Oil
    Newmont Mining Corporation
    Occidental Petroleum Corporation
    Rio Tinto
    Shell
    Statoil
    Talisman Energy


    NGOs:
    Amnesty International
    The Fund for Peace
    Human Rights First
    Human Rights Watch
    IKV Pax Christi
    International Alert
    Oxfam
    Pact
    Search for Common Ground


    Observers:
    International Committee of the Red Cross
    International Council on Mining & Metals
    International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association

Contact:
Jasmine Trillios-Decarie
Secretariat
Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
Foley Hoag LLP
Washington, D.C.
1-202-223-1200

SOURCE Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights


Source: newswire



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