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Preventing corporate abuse and realising child rights

The need for new laws to require UK businesses to be sure their work does not breach human rights or damage the environment will be set out at a Unicef event next week.

Posted on 02 December 2020

Leigh Day international team head, Richard Meeran will join two others on the panel at the event, Preventing Corporate Abuse and Realising Child Rights.
Richard’s contribution will stem from his work in the past 25 years and in particular his current partnership with Zanele Mbuyisa on a class action against Anglo American South Africa filed on behalf of thousands of children allegedly poisoned by lead from the Kabwe mine in Zambia.
The event, on Tuesday, 8 December, will be an online discussion on the case for UK legislation on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence and child rights.
Organisers say the interconnectedness of UK businesses and global supply chains has been sharply exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, showing how children’s rights can be undermined by the demands of the world’s marketplace.
They say “with the necessary will and appropriate preventative action” many abuses of children could be avoided or reduced.
Unicef UK’s paper, Preventing corporate abuse and realising child rights: the case for UK legislation on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, will be presented at the event.
It sets out why the UK Government should legally require UK businesses and businesses operating in the UK to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence and why it should ensure accountability for abuses and environmental harms; it also explains the necessity for this to explicitly integrate child rights.
Other speakers at the event are: Maria Pia Bianchetti, Private Sector Policy and Influencing Manager, Unicef UK and Muhammad Rafiq Khan, Chief, Child Protection, UNICEF Ghana.
Richard Meeran said:
“The UK government has claimed for many years to be committed to taking action to prevent adverse human rights and environmental impacts arising in association with the operations of UK multinationals.

"Children in developing countries are especially vulnerable to such harm and national legislation requiring businesses to carry out mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence is now overdue.”

Richard Meeran

Richard Meeran

Richard is co-head of the firm's international department

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Leigh Day represents people from around the world in fighting for their rights against corporations and governments. We have secured justice for tens of thousands of women, men and children