Ernesto Borda: Human rights and corporate competitiveness

By Jorge Emilio Sierra Montoya

Ernesto Borda is the executive director of “Trust”, a consultation company dedicated to build up confidence, a priority that determines to a greater degree the competitiveness of companies, related to human rights.  The present report will further explain in detail how this may take shape.

The key of world politics

A few years ago, the topic of human rights was fairly restricted.  It was an exclusive political matter; completely foreign to the economy and the world of business.  This is associated mostly with matters such as violence, in particular.

But, recently – according to Ernesto Borda, an expert on this topic – there has been a substantial change. Of course, there is indeed a close relation between companies and such rights; above all competition depends directly with the full respect, acknowledgement of human rights.

Borda ensures that “It is not fashionable,” after observing that human rights have been converted into a principal pillar of international politics, in which have been re-evaluated the traditional concepts such as sovereignty, considered to be a key matter in order to secure peace and security in the world.

Very well, now what is imposed is the language of solidarity, of the promotion of democracy and obviously advocating human rights that are attempting to hold back, still in the private sector, the abuse of power against fragile individuals, who are defenseless.

A New Agenda of Security

In general, the new agenda of security in this globalized world expands from the aforementioned promotion of democracy, the drive to overcome poverty and reach sustainable development, all the way to the protection of minorities, holding back human mobility and transparency or the fight against corruption, while definitely refraining from violence.

The International humanitarian Law, on its turn, establishes the regulation of the very same armed conflicts, just like the one that we have suffered in Colombia years ago.

And of course, in this context there are not only the governments who have responsibilities in this field.  No.  There have emerged other entities that are equally responsible, such as the citizens and companies, who should respond before the international community in relation to the violation of human rights.  The case of General Augusto Pinochet was a perfect example.

Companies, without a doubt, also have to respond, even more so when in many cases (we think of the multinationals) possess at times an economic, social and political power that is even superior to countries.

Moreover, the society demands it. This is showed within the preferences of consumers and the reputation of companies, determined to a greater degree on the way they do business.

Going Beyond the Law

As a result, companies, have to respect human rights. Especially respect the rights of their employees in the first place.  Refrain from violating their labor rights, taking advantage to their fragility.  Let alone using violence against their workers as it happens in many cases, when irregular groups assassinate labor union leaders.

Better said, the law must be fulfilled.  Going even beyond what the laws require, with systems of quality that ensure the full respect of these rights, not only in front of workers but also in front of clients, providers, contractors and community in general, or better said all of the stakeholders.

Finally, it is required, the action of the state in order to guarantee such rights, but also the commitment of companies, of the private sector, towards strengthening the administration of justice, the administration of government and public security, without believing that such matters are exclusive to the state or to the official authorities.

Therefore, finally let there be, a policy of human rights in companies, in no way reduced to pay the benefits of peace. In the name of security let them defend such rights instead of violating them.

Borda emphasizes that “we need more solidarity in order to turn human rights into a reality.”

Translation in English by: Peter M. Tase

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Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of International Affairs, Paraguayan Studies, Middle East Studies and Latin American Affairs, located in the United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government; Tase is the author of “Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish” and “El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay.” He’s a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy News. His personal website is www.petertase.com

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