The Business and Human Rights Resource Center, an international group that monitors the positive and negative impacts of thousands of businesses on human rights around the globe, will be awarded the sixth biennial Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The center, based in London and New York, is the only non-profit organization focusing on the human rights records of over 5,100 companies, operating in over 180 countries.
Called “an essential guide to the world’s companies and their records on human rights” by The Guardian newspaper, the center serves as a link between local communities and activists and companies, seeking responses from businesses to allegations of misconduct. Globally, the center has achieved a 70 percent response rate from companies in its bid to promote transparency, public accountability, and informed decision-making.
“As economies grow and technology brings the world closer together, the business community has increasing responsibility to promote and protect human rights standards,” says former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd. “The Business and Human Rights Resource Center creates a dialogue between workers, governments, the media, and industry to address allegations and ultimately prevent abuses. Their work promoting transparency and accountability embodies the spirit of the Dodd Center and the work of my late father to promote international human rights.”
In the 10 years of its existence, the center has focused on issues ranging from sugar farms in Cambodia to garment factories in Bangladesh to obtaining responses from some of the world’s largest firms on a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act, coauthored by Sen. Dodd, designed to curb the trade in so-called “conflict minerals” mined in war-torn regions of the world.
“From the meeting rooms of the United Nations to factories and fields around the world, there is an increasing recognition that businesses play an essential role in realizing the promise of human rights,” says Glenn Mitoma, interim director of the Dodd Research Center. “As a pioneer in promoting corporate accountability for human rights impacts, the center is at the forefront of this movement. We’re honored to have the opportunity to award this distinguished prize to an organization that’s attained such significant results in only a few years.”
The Dodd Prize commemorates the work and example of Sen. Thomas J. Dodd, who served as executive trial counsel during the Nuremberg war crimes trials after World War II before embarking on a career in the U.S. House of Representatives (1953-1957) and the U.S. Senate (1959-1971).
Past recipients of the prize include former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, and the Committee to Protect Journalists. The prize includes a $75,000 award and a bronze bust of Sen. Thomas J. Dodd.