Chance to be part of the UN business and human rights agenda

Flinders University student Emma Gorman (pictured) will have a unique opportunity to work closely with the newly established United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

The Bachelor of International Studies student will begin the four-month, part-time internship this month after it was announced by the School of International Studies.

Ms Gorman will assist the School’s Dr Alexandra Guáqueta in her capacity as a member of the Working Group.

The Working Group, which consists of an independent expert from each of the UN’s five regional groups, exists “to promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, which became in 2011 the world’s authoritative standard to manage the adverse impacts by domestic and international corporations.

Dr Guáqueta said that the internship presents a special chance to work for the UNWG’s mandate at a time when communities worldwide are demanding corporate accountability.

“Until recently, investors’ risks could have been managed through philanthropy – by fixing the walls of a run-down school in a disadvantaged rural village, or sponsoring the local footy team, for example – or sadly, through bribery,” Dr Guáqueta said.

“But those days are fading away. Social expectations have changed and so has the global governance landscape. Today’s New Social Contracts the world over require companies to show and demonstrate that they prevent, mitigate and compensate social and human rights impacts,” she said.

“This is becoming the sustainable way to manage risks. Charity and community investment alone will not cut it.”

In addition to the opportunity to meet experts in the field based in Australia and overseas, including UN staff involved in the UNWG’s mandate, the successful candidate may travel with Dr Guáqueta to domestic and overseas conferences and meetings.

“Last week, about one thousand people from 80 different countries attended the first UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights – a strong indication on how strategic this topic is,” Dr Guáqueta said.

Ms Gorman expressed her gratitude to Dr Guáqueta and to Flinders for such an exciting opportunity.

“I cannot wait to start!” she said.

For information about the internships, please contact Jacqui Forte via email or by phone: (08) 8201 3513.

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