Business Leaders Advising Trump Urged to Reject Travel Ban, Promote Human Rights
NEW YORK, NY, Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 – Human rights and shareholder advocacy groups and religious organizations today sent a letter to the 19 current and former CEOs comprising President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum in advance of their upcoming meeting with the President this Friday. The Strategic and Policy Forum was convened by President Trump to provide input as the President and his administration implement his economic agenda. The group’s letter urges the CEOs to use Friday’s meeting to speak out strongly against the President’s Executive Order restricting entry into the U.S. for refugees, immigrants, and documented residents from selected counties.
Organized by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, the Institute for Human Rights and Business, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and endorsed by 61 investor and advocacy organizations, the letter also called on the corporate leaders to ensure respect for the human rights of all workers, and to align corporate policies and practices with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“Members of the Strategic and Policy Forum must be ambassadors for American values. These values include respect for diversity, inclusion, and the dignity of every human being. We’re watching if these CEOs and the corporations they represent stand up for these values, or stand idly by as they are quashed,” said Amol Mehra, Executive Director of ICAR.
The groups warn that the travel ban undermines respect for human rights and the lives of workers and their families in the U.S. and beyond, and will disrupt economic activity and company operations. They call for respect for human rights and responsible business conduct, which they argue will benefit not only the American people, but will ensure an inclusive and prosperous global economy.
Said John Morrison of IHRB, “The Executive Order hurts people and business. Companies must stand up for human rights, including the rights of those who are most vulnerable. If they do nothing, they will have to answer to investors, consumers, and workers at home and abroad.”
Specifically, the letter calls on the business leaders to take the following actions:
Speak out strongly against the President’s Executive Order restricting entry into the U.S. for refugees, immigrants, and documented residents from selected countries;
Recommend that the President and his administration join with them and the global business community to ensure respect for the human rights of workers, regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion, nationality, immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, at home and in global value chains; and
Urge the U.S. government to work with other nations to align corporate policies and practices with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The groups will follow up with all the companies represented in the President’s Forum and look for public statements and policies that reflect the actions and commitments they have called for.
Said ICCR’s Josh Zinner, “Now is a moment in history to make a stand against discrimination and in support of fundamental American values of tolerance and inclusion. As key representatives of corporate America, the business leaders advising the President have a critical responsibility to respect human rights and reject the thinly veiled bigotry and xenophobia that the travel ban evokes.”
The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), a project of the Tides Center, is a civil society organization working to ensure that governments create, implement, and enforce laws and policies to protect against business-related human rights abuse.
Founded in 2009, IHRB is the leading international think tank on business and human rights. IHRB’s mission is to shape policy, advance practice and strengthen accountability in order to make respect for human rights part of everyday business.
Celebrating its 46th year, ICCR is the pioneer coalition of shareholder advocates who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for social change. Its 300 member organizations comprise faith communities and other socially responsible investors who work in coalition to promote greater corporate accountability on issues of environmental and social importance.