Today, the biggest co-working space in Bosnia and Herzegovina “Tershouse” hosted a ceremony attended by representatives of ten companies that decided to sign the Charter on Business and Human Rights.
The Charter comprises 15 articles detailing the companies’ commitment to preventing human rights violations, involving stakeholders and allowing them to voice their needs, providing equal rights to all, fostering a safe work environment, forbidding forced labor and involvement in human trafficking and upholding the right to a confidential communication channel employees can use to report any violations.
The Charter on Business and Human Rights was created through the project “Improving Human Rights Corporate Accountability in the BiH Business Sector” implemented by the Institute for Youth Development KULT in cooperation with the FBiH Employers’ Association and with the financial support of the European Union.
The majority of the companies that signed that Charter today work in IT and software development, mostly for international markets. In a joint statement, they noted that international markets require human rights protections to be integrated in all company policies and the principles outlined in the Charter will help them align their policies with the requirements of their markets they operate in. The latest signatories are: Tershouse d.o.o., Pear Shadow, MKODE d.o.o. Sarajevo, OR SaCode, Ankeboot d.o.o., Light Sail Solution d.o.o., OD UNRAVEL, Aqua Digital BH d.o.o., Ministry of Programming and Flower Factory d.o.o.
“We’re happy to join the ranks of BiH companies that have signed this Charter and pleased to have been able to host the Institute and our members that decided to integrate these principles in their operations. Since we, and the majority of our members, work on international markets, these principles are already an integral part of our policies, and we are glad to have an opportunity to express our commitment to them in writing”, said Nermin Šehić, Director of Tershouse d.o.o.
The Charter on Business and Human Rights is based on United Nations Guiding Principles and is the first step on the road to creating a state-level action plan for protecting human rights in the business sector. Before we developed the Charter, we conducted a survey to gauge the awareness of companies about issues related to human rights. Results of the survey indicate that companies, especially small ones, are unaware that their operations may jeopardize human rights.
“We decided to sign this Charter because it’s based on one of the main postulates of our company, which we believe should be at the core of every other company as well, in BiH and globally. We’re glad that the Institute for Youth Development KULT managed to implement this initiative in BiH”, said Sara Lerota, who works at the Ministry of Programming.
The full text of the Charter is available here: www.mladi.org/myURL/povelja. All companies in BiH are encouraged to sign the Charter as a sign of their commitment to protecting human rights. If you are interested in joining the ranks of Charter signatories, you can fill out the questionnaire here.