Stand up for human rights, Zeid urges global business leaders

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The "hard-won laws and principles" of universal human rights are under threat, and global business leaders need to stand up and defend them.

That's the view of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, speaking ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, next week.

Matthew Wells reports.

The Human Rights chief said that business leaders meeting in Davos, had a "key role to play" to stem what he referred to as the "terrible tide" of attacks against fundamental human rights, facing the world at the start of 2017.

He called on those attending the gathering of top business and political leaders in the Swiss mountain resort to use their "considerable influence to stand up for human rights and prevent rights violations in countries where they operate."

Zeid said there had been a "deeply-disturbing increase in divisive behaviour and policies and outright hatred" especially against vulnerable people and groups in recent months.

Responsible businesses, he added, relied on the smooth functioning of justice, stability and sustainable development, as outlined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Zeid stressed that human rights "lie at the core of such long-term stability."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 49"

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