15 May 2019
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Ethiopian garment workers lowest-paid in world as country becomes new destination for "fast-fashion"

NYU Stern Center for Business & Human Rights; Workers Rights Consortium

  • Two new reports examine working conditions in Ethiopian garment sector where workers are paid as low as 12 cents an hour
  • Workers Rights Consortium highlighted labour abuses including forced & unpaid overtime, wage deductions and degrading verbal abuse
  • Stern Center outlined recommendations for Ethiopian Govt., including establishing a decent minimum wage & developing a long-term economic plan to strengthen sector
  • We invited H&M, PVH and Walmart, who source from Ethiopia, to respond; responses provided
  • We invited Children’s Place and Gerber Childrenswear to respond and will include their response or non-response in a future update
Photo credit: Daian Gan
See Company Responses & Non-Responses


Guest blogs:

Canada's 'toothless' new corporate watchdog is a broken promise and a major setback for human rights Emily Dwyer, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability

Japan's new visa system for migrant workers only extends the scope for exploitation Saul Takahashi, former researcher at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre


Unilever signs agreement with global trade unions to protect permanent jobs & strengthen rights of temporary workers


  • Temporary workers will be informed of their work schedules with sufficient notice & not retained on call without pay
Big oil companies respond to allegations they spent USD 1 billion of shareholder funds since Paris Agreement on undermining climate change efforts


  • Report alleged top five companies have spent funds on lobbying & 'misleading' climate-related branding
  • We invited BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, & Total to respond; responses provided
Shareholder action at upcoming Annual General Meetings: BHP Billiton served with largest damages claim in UK history over 2015 Samarco dam collapse in Brazil

Sydney Morning Herald


Nigeria & ILO collaborate on national work plan to eliminate child labour in cocoa & mining supply chains

This Day

Malawi: Authorities concerned spread of fake news on social media will undermine integrity of upcoming election

Quartz Africa

Kenya: Safaricom pledges gender-balanced workforce by 2020

Business Daily (Kenya)


Ecuador: Banana workers accuse sector of labour rights abuses including wage deductions & lack of freedom of association 

Instituto de Estudios Ecuatorianos; Agricultural Banana Workers and Peasants’ Trade Union Association (ASTAC)

  • Complaint was filed under the multiparty trade agreement of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & the EU; The EU is Ecuador's biggest buyer of bananas
  • We invited Reybanpac to respond; response provided
  • We invited Noboa Group to respond & will include their response or non-response in a future update
USA: Amazon sued seven times in last eight years for allegedly firing warehouse workers for being pregnant & not honouring their medical needs 

Ars Technica

  • Article includes company comments
Brazil: Amnesty Intl. warns of increased territorial conflicts due to growth of illegal land seizures & logging in Amazon 

USA: Film production companies boycott Georgia after state adopts anti-abortion law restricting women's rights



Japan: Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing discloses list of major suppliers for first time

Nikkei Asian Review

Cambodia: Union urges authorities to release two of its members, arrested for allegedly instigating violence

Khmer Times

China: International leaders attending ‘Belt and Road’ infrastructure summit reiterate commitment to human rights

Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation

  • Belt & Road initiative is a USD 900 billion development strategy by China involving investments &  infrastructure in 152 countries; activists have raised concerns about its potential social & environmental impacts


Dutch Parliament adopts due diligence law obliging companies to report & address child labour risks in their supply chains

MVO Platform

Assessment of EU non-financial reporting reveals company compliance is lowest for human rights & environmental disclosures


  • Study focussed on Austrian, German & Swedish companies
Allegations of attacks against human rights defenders in Central Asia:

Crude Accountability



Amnesty & New York University back legal action against Israeli firm NSO Group over alleged use of its spyware against human rights defenders

Amnesty Intl.; Luxembourg coalition for a duty of vigilance law

  • NSO Group also faces claims its technology used whastapp security flaw to hack phone of lawyer working on case against company
  • A civil society group urged the adoption of a duty of vigilance law in Luxembourg (where NSO Group is headquartered) to help protect activists against such attacks 
UAE Govt. & Indian Embassy urge migrant workers to immediately report salary delays 

Gulf News



Call for Abstracts: Research Workshop on Business and Human Rights (deadline: 1 June)

Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (IAPA) Journal opens call for papers on gender in impact assessment & management (due 30 Aug)


  • Mandate of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (16 May, Geneva)
  • Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework (17 May, Phnom Penh)
  • Business and Human Rights Practitioners’ Network – Event on Vedanta v Lungowe (21 May, London)
  • Towards Criminal Liability of Corporations for Human Rights Violations: The Lundin Case in Sweden (23 May, The Hague)
  • The road to fair, sustainable supply chains and access to justice (4 June, The Hague)
Details of these & other future events can be found here. Please send relevant event information to Maja Janjic:


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