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Modern slavery, human trafficking and sustainable procurement discussed at Business and Human Rights Forum

19 Oct 2022

Modern slavery and sustainable procurement were among the topics discussed at the recent meeting of the Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum which took place on Anti-Slavery Day.

The meeting, which took place at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s office and online, heard from Aongus O’Keefe from the Department of Justice and Darina Eades from Business in the Community Ireland.

Speaking after the meeting, Chair of the Northern Ireland Business and Human Rights Forum, Stephen Abram said: “Thank you to all those who attended today’s timely meeting. The presentations and discussions on modern slavery and procurement were very insightful and useful. The Forum continues to provide a space to share expertise and practical support for its members.”

Aongus O’Keefe said: “I was delighted to get the opportunity to speak with the Business & Human Rights Forum today about modern slavery and human trafficking. This is a very poignant social issue that affects all spheres of life. It was a great to make linkages with both private and public sector colleagues and hear different perspectives on how to confront this scourge in our society. The team at NIHRC do a great job in joining the dots and getting the right people in the room.”

Darina Eades said: “Meetings of the Northern Ireland Business & Human Rights Forum provide a great space to bring together a range of different stakeholders - public and private sector organisations, NGOs, Academic and Community organisations on the island of Ireland - to talk about the issue of human rights and modern slavery mitigation, the good practices that are in place, the areas that are proving most challenging and how best to address these. It’s an important network for building much needed awareness, facilitating discussion and inspiring the continuous improvement that is needed.”

Alyson Kilpatrick, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission said: “Embedding human rights within procurement processes can help eradicate modern day slavery, illegal child labour and health and safety breaches. Local Businesses in Northern Ireland together with government and public authorities can all play a role in promoting and protecting human rights. We welcome that the Forum is raising awareness of these issues and the commitment of the members attending today.”

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