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Weekly Update - 18 May 2016

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Lead Story
Responsible renewable energy: How 35 wind & hydropower companies’ approach human rights & community engagement

compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • findings include: basic human rights policies in place, but most do not refer to intl. human rights standards
  • 2/3 of companies have some commitment to consult with local communities; only 3 out of 35 refer to respecting indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior & informed consent
  • responses by 14 companies: Acciona, Enel Green Power, Engie, EPM, Ethiopian Electric Power, Furnas, Isagen, Lake Turkana Wind Power, Renovalia Energia, Sarawak Energy, Siemens Wind Power, Statkraft, Vattenfall, Vestas
  • blog: Are renewable energy companies ready to respect human rights?
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East &
North Africa

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Help us enhance our Company Response Mechanism
  • we are inviting feedback on key questions by 7 Jun
  • recent article emphasises value to victims, challenges us to enhance mechanism
  • academic analysis looks at response database, highlights trends
Job vacancy: China Researcher & Representative
  • based in Beijing; deadline 23 May
FIDH launches updated guide on accountability & redress mechanisms for victims of corporate abuse

Intl. Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

  • includes judicial & non-judicial recourse mechanisms
Proposed UN treaty on business & human rights must address corporate capture of govt., says Treaty Alliance

Report on accountability & access to remedy for victims of corporate abuse highlights risks that undermine remedies, “urgent need for action”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • provides practical guidance for govts. with 19 key policy objectives
Sudanese refugees file lawsuit in US court against BNP Paribas over alleged complicity in Darfur genocide

Courthouse News

Over 300 NGOs send letter to World Bank´s President rejecting his statement on negative impacts of dams & murder of activist Berta Cáceres

313 NGOs including Aida, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Council of Popular and Indigenous Orgs. of Honduras (COPINH)

So. Africa: Court allows silicosis & tuberculosis class action lawsuits against gold mining companies; could include 30,000 miners

GlobeNewswire; Daily Maverick; Action for Southern Africa; Reuters

  • enables miners to proceed with claims against 30 gold mining companies
Kenya: Manslaughter charges for owners of building that collapsed killing more than 20 people

Standard Digital

Nigeria: Federal Govt. files USD 6 billion lawsuit against Shell on behalf of communities affected by 2011 Bonga oil spill; NGO says action is a “giant leap” forward

Naija247News; Today; Vanguard

Honduras: NGOs allege Aura Minerals gold mine affects health of communities, fails to comply with basic protections of sacred places in relocating cemetery

Canadian Press; Honduras Solidarity Network & Community boards of Azacualpa, San Andrés Minas, El Cedro, La Ceiba, Toreras and Esquin, and Azacualpa Environmental Committee

  • we invited Aura Minerals to respond - response provided
USA: Pfizer imposes controls to prevent use of its products for death penalty

Reprieve; Guardian (UK)

Peru: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights urges govt. to protect 14 additional people affected by toxic pollution of Doe Run metal smelter


Asia & Pacific
Myanmar: New govt. forms committee to monitor land disputes & oversee return of land to rightful owners

Global Witness; Irrawaddy

  • Global Witness says widespread land grabs by “crony companies” have “devastated livelihoods & fuelled conflict” - urges ban on land investments without better safeguards
China: Landslide hits Huadian Fuxin hydroelectric station killing 36 workers; company denies mistakes in choosing site location

Los Angeles Times; China News; Beijing News

Thailand: Rights defender Andy Hall on trial for "criminal defamation & computer crimes"

Finnwatch; Walk Free

  • charges carry maximum penalty of 7 years imprisonment & potential fines
China: Cancer patient dies after receiving unqualified treatment led by paid-ads on Baidu, criticisms push company to change culture

South China Morning Post, People's Daily

Vietnam: Human Rights Watch calls on govt. to stop harassment, intimidation & persecution of environmental activists protesting fish killings
Europe & Central Asia
Russia: Evenki indigenous community leader sentenced to 4 years in jail for opposing UK-based Petropavlovsk gold mining firm

Amnesty Intl.; Intl. Work Group for Indigenous Affairs; Russian Reader

  • in 2015 we invited Petropavlovsk to respond to community concerns - it did not
  • last month we invited firm's shareholders to respond - responses from Prudential and UBS Switzerland; Cape View Capital, D.E. Shaw & Co., Sothic Capital Management did not respond
UK Govt. publishes updated Natl. Action Plan on business & human rights

CORE Coalition; UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

"EU Roadmap to Business & Human Rights" conference: Video & conclusions of conference referring to human rights due diligence & access to remedy

Dutch EU Presidency, European Coalition for Corporate Justice, European Network of Natl. Human Rights Institutions and MVO Platform; SOMO

  • emphasises need for access to remedy, justice for victims of business-related abuse
Middle East & North Africa
UAE: Security guards protest over unpaid wages & "terrible" living conditions; company responds


UAE's labour authority publishes first annual report on worker rights - highlights inspections & dispute resolution, cites “malpractices by recruitment agencies”


Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • ILO course: multinatl. enterprises, development & decent work (23-27 May, Turin)
  • discussion: "Worker wellbeing - a right or a privilege?" (24 May, London)
  • Turkish law, intl. standards, business & human rights (26 May, Istanbul)
  • webinar on implications for Asia of UK Modern Slavery Act (26 May, online)
  • challenges in embedding human rights across business (30 May, online)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Vacancies at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
  • China Researcher & Representative, based in Beijing, China (due 23 May)
  • IT & Digital Security Volunteer (rolling application)
Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
We take no position on views by commentators, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
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