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Grappling with Business and Human Rights Dilemmas

31 March 2021

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The University of Portsmouth's Interdisciplinary Webinar Series Research Futures, chaired by Leïla Choukroune, Professor of International Law and Director of the University of Portsmouth Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship continues with this presentation by Surya Deva, Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, discussing the intersection of human rights and profits.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other international standards expect business enterprises to respect all internationally recognised human rights wherever they operate. However, businesses, especially those with global operations and social visibility, are increasingly struggling to operate in line with these international standards and at the same time also comply with national regulations.

Twitter’s recent tussle with the Indian government, pressure faced by banks in Hong Kong after the enactment of the National Security Law, and civil society campaigns asking companies to withdraw from Xinjiang and Myanmar to avoid complicity with serious human rights abuses illustrate this struggle. This talk will grapple with these business dilemmas and propose certain strategies that businesses may employ to navigate through these dilemmas and strike a balance in making profit with principles.


Professor Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, and the current Vice Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Prof Deva’s primary research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development. He has published extensively in these areas. Prof Deva is one of the founding Editors-in-Chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal, and sits on the Editorial/Advisory Board of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, the Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, the Indian Law Review, and the Australian Journal of Human Rights.

Research Futures: Research Futures: Profit with Principles?

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Global Corporate Compliance

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