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30 Jan 2023

SOMO & Justice for Iran

SOMO & Justice for Iran call for EU legislative action on downstream due diligence to prevent surveillance tech from contributing to abuse in Iran

"Caught on camera: How CCTV tech contributes to human rights abuse in Iran", 30 Jan 2023

Key takeaways for policymakers:

  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance is widespread across the globe, and in states with weak rule of law and lack of good governance such as Iran, it is used to perpetrate severe human rights abuses. If European companies manufacturing and selling CCTV surveillance technology – and their investors – fail to conduct risk-based downstream value chain due diligence, such technology can easily end up in the hands of bad actors and contributing to severe human rights abuses.
  • “Risk-based downstream due diligence” is a practical concept that is already an expectation of business under authoritative standards such as the OECD Guidelines and UN Guiding Principles by which companies and investors seek to prevent severe human rights abuses that could be committed with or using their products or services. Many companies and investors already conduct risk-based due diligence throughout their entire value chain, both upstream and downstream. Unfortunately, many other companies still do not.
  • European lawmakers must recognise the importance of risk-based downstream due diligence to prevent surveillance technologies from contributing to harm and make risk-based downstream due diligence mandatory.
  • By making the normative expectations for risk-based downstream value chain due diligence that already exist in international standards mandatory, European lawmakers in Brussels and European capitals can take a major step towards persuading companies and investors not to prop up repressive and undemocratic regimes and to instead move to prevent and avoid human rights abuses in their value chains around the world.