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World Social and Economic Fora: All human rights for all, everyone's

While Paul Hoffman, Chair of Amnesty International's International Executive Committee, will be joining social movements at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre to bring human rights into the globalisation debate, in Davos the organisation's Secretary General, Irene Khan, will be debating how to strengthen corporate responsibility for human rights.

'Civil society and its organisations have a great stake in the process of globalisation and its effects on the lives, livelihood's and human rights of hundreds of millions of people the world over,' Paul Hoffman said.

'Their voice - the voice of all the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, men and Children's rights reclaiming their fundamental rights - must be heard if we are to build a global society based on justice and human rights, rather than the self-interest of states or companies.'

Speaking from Davos where Amnesty International will be addressing political and economic leaders, Irene Khan said: 'Human rights are not a luxury in good times - they are fundamental for stable, open societies that businesses need to operate.'

Human rights standards can provide a much-needed instrument to ensure that those in power - be it political or economic - be held legally accountable for the impact of their actions on human rights.

'With power comes responsibility, and as companies play increasingly important roles, binding legal mechanisms should be strengthened to ensure they can be brought to book for their direct or indirect participation in human rights abuses,' added Amnesty International's Secretary General.

'It is time to go beyond voluntary codes of conduct with regard to companies' responsibility for human rights - just as states have legal obligations to respect these rights, so should businesses.'

While attending the World Economic Forum, Amnesty International's Secretary General will take part in civil society events including the 'Public Eye on Davos'.

'This gathering acts as a reminder that international civil society is watching. We want real actions, not empty words; progress, not pronouncements; deeds, not assertions,' Irene Khan said.

'Human rights can be a powerful tool to empower those left at the margins of economic globalisation,' added Irene Khan, stressing the universal character of these rights, based on the notion of our common humanity.

'Porto Alegre and Davos may be miles apart and on a different continent, but they share a common world, a world in which people aspire to live with the freedom from fear and the freedom from want,' Paul Hoffman concluded.

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