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The responsibility of corporations to respect human rights has become a particular focus for some stakeholders.

The UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights states: “Business enterprises should respect human rights. This means that they should avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved.” This responsibility to respect human rights is a global standard of conduct that applies to all business enterprises wherever they operate.

Since the publication of the UN Guiding Principles in 2011, the performance of businesses in relation to human rights has come under heightened review. Businesses operating in the ICT sector have come under particular scrutiny and this has been reinforced through the publication of the EU Guidelines for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles specifically for the ICT sector. It is clear that many of the issues identified in our materiality matrix contain human rights implications.

Our approach to human rights

We aim to focus on managing the human rights issues identified through the materiality assessment. These include issues such as privacy, government surveillance, supply chain labor standards, health and safety, and access to telecommunications, and we cover these issues later in the report. We have signed up to the UNGC Principles relating to human rights, confirming and formalizing our commitment.

We are an active member of GeSI’s working group on human rights which involves engagement with stakeholders through a High Level Panel and an Advisory Group. We are particularly focused on the work strand ‘operating in challenging environments’ and are actively engaged in the project to produce good practice guidance on human rights issues relating to the provision of security services at remote radio base stations which has involved two of our most relevant markets.

In 2015, we conducted desk-top human rights due-diligence reviews of two of our markets which confirmed that we are capturing the key high-level issues in our materiality assessment. General human rights training was not provided in 2015 but specific aspects were covered under the headings of anti-bribery and anti-corruption, and as part of the new ethical procurement process.

Human rights

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