Human rights, business and Commonwealth Games event

Business and sports experts have met in Glasgow today to discuss the human rights implications of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, including an address by Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison.

The unique meeting drew of the lessons from the London 2012 Olympics and discussed the challenges and opportunities that mega-events can bring including procurement, the rights of workers and the human rights implications for supply chains.

The event was sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and was jointly hosted by Anti-Slavery International, the Institute for Human Rights and Business and the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Policy makers, academics, trade unions and sports experts attended the all day conference.

Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to creating a modern, inclusive Scotland which protects, respects and realises the human rights of all. We believe there is no place for prejudice or discrimination, in Scotland, or any other part of the world.

“Glasgow 2014 is a diverse and inclusive organisation and in line with the Commonwealth Games core value of equality, aims to engage individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of race, faith, disability or sexual orientation.  Glasgow 2014 provides what many consider to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience and participate in a major international sports event, and there are many ways to get involved, through employment, volunteering and business contacts.  The Games should be a positive experience for all – athlete, spectator, worker and volunteer alike.“

Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “Businesses large and small can play an important role in ensuring respect for human rights in their core business operations as well as in their supply chains and in procurement.

“The 2014 Games is the perfect opportunity for businesses and human rights experts to establish the “an ideal model” of a mega event that respects and protects the human rights of everyone involved, from the athletes, to hotel employees, officials, spectators and people working overseas to produce goods and services for the event.

“By embracing and promoting the values of sport and human rights through the Commonwealth Games this meeting is a chance to discuss the role of business and government in ensuring respect for human rights, including through procurement and the supply chain. The Commission is delighted to be taking part with the Minister, businesses, policymakers and civil society representatives.”

John Morrison, Executive Director, Institute for Human Rights and Business said: “The Glasgow Commonwealth Games will showcase all that is best about Scotland and will deliver key opportunities for Scottish business. Hosting the Games also brings greater international scrutiny including on the effectiveness of efforts to protect worker rights and combat forced labour and trafficking. Business leaders and policymakers must ensure they are aware of the risks and do all they can to prevent exploitation.”

Anti-Slavery International Director Dr Aidan McQuade said: "Major sports events such as the Commonwealth Games bring with them increased risks of exploitation and trafficking of vulnerable workers.

“However if government, business and civil society works together in common purpose against slavery then many of these risks can be mitigated. This conference is the launch of a public conversation on how Scotland can reduce risks for the weak and expand the opportunities for decent work for those trying for work their way out of poverty".

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