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19 December 2019

Lead Story
Major toy brands accused of sourcing from Chinese factories violating workers' rights 

CNBC; China Labor Watch

  • Allegations include workers living in overcrowded domitories with unsanitary facilities; suffering from exhaustion due to illegal overtime & working in unsafe conditions
  • We invited Hasbro and Ravensburger to respond; responses provided
  • We invited Simba Dickie Group and Schleich to respond; they did not
  • Coverage includes comments from Disney, Lego, and Mattel
photo credit: Matt
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
New in our blog series on technology & human rights: If you are interested in submitting a blog piece for this series, please email  
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders highlights role of companies in attacks in first global survey since 2006

Google stops use of data collection system crucial for development of censored Chinese search engine

The Intercept; The Verge

  • Move follows  public pressure from Google employees to drop "Dragonfly" project 
Kenya: Police & military harassing & intimidating environmental activists opposed to infrastructure projects on country's coast, say NGOs

Human Rights Watch & National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya

Cocoa industry allegedly still contributes to deforestation in West Africa, despite pledge to stop practice 

Guardian (UK)

  • Article includes comments from industry representatives
Updates on corruption cases in the mining sector:
Argentina: Two ex-Ford executives convicted over abduction & torture of 24 workers during military dictatorship

Guardian (UK)

  • Verdict marks first time executives of a foreign company have been convicted for crimes committed during Argentina’s dictatorship
Haiti: Farmers reach agreement with Inter-American Development Bank & govt. to redress harm caused by Caracol Industrial Park

Accountability Counsel

  • Project displaced hundreds of farmers & their families and increased financial & food insecurity
  • Agreement provides land, employment opportunities, agricultural equipment, training and support for micro-enterprise
Canada: Liberal MP proposes modern slavery bill requiring companies to report on measures to reduce reduce risk of forced labour

HuffPost Canada

Honduras: Fyffes subsidiary loses Fair Trade certificate due to alleged labour rights violations 

Fair Trade Certified; International Labour Rights Forum

  • Fair Trade USA decertified Fyffes’ Suragroh melon farm for violating standards on wage & benefits, worker health & safety, and freedom of association
  • We invited Fyffes to respond, response provided
Trump Organization may be pursuing new business deal in Dominican Republic, raising concerns of corruption & conflict of interest

Global Witness

Asia & Pacific
China: US brand Badger Sport allegedly linked to factory in Chinese internment camp using forced labour

New York Times; Badger Sport; Associated Press

  • Article includes company comments
Indonesia: Palm oil trader Wilmar will use satellites to monitor suppliers & eliminate deforestation from its supply chain


  • Greenpeace called the commitment a "potential breakthrough" & said it would monitor the company's progress 
Indonesian court dismisses case against environmental expert sued over his testimony in corruption case


  • Expert testifying on environmental degradation was sued by accused governor during case on illegal issuing of mining permits
  • Ruling judge emphasised need to protect expert witnesses from backlash 
Cambodia: Rise of production targets for apparel factory workers effectively undermines recent wage increases in sector, says labour rights group

Khmer Times

Philippines: NGOs reassert claims that OceanaGold violated human rights at Didipio mine

MiningWatch Canada & Institute for Policy Studies

  • OceanaGold had previously responded to the NGOs' report on alleged violations at the gold & copper mine in Didipio
  • We invited OceanaGold to repond to the rejoinder; it declined
Europe & Central Asia
UK: Govt. introduces labour reforms but fails to strengthen rights of workers in gig economy, unions say

Guardian (UK)

Georgia: Court rules for plaintiff in country’s first workplace sexual harassment suit

Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty

  • Journalist had brought charges against her former boss at Imedi TV
Migrant & refugee workers crucial for Germany's labour shortage

Local Germany; Deutsche Welle

  • German Institute for Human Rights has reported that foreign workers are often underpaid, hired without formal contracts or pushed to work unpaid overtime
Middle East & North Africa
EU extends & relaxes deal offering Jordan trade concessions for supporting refugee workers

Jordan Times

  • Under 2016 deal Jordan manufacturers can import up to 70% of raw materials & qualify for trade concessions if Syrians comprise 25% of workforce
  • New agreement reduces workforce requirement to 15% and will now last four extra years to 2030
UAE: Govt. prohibits workers from striking during labour disputes

Gulf Business

Company responses Non-responses
Call for input: Intl. Finance Corporation's draft impact investment operating principles (deadline: end of Dec  2018)
Forthcoming events: 
  • 6th Winter Course on Human Rights and Asia (7-18 Jan, South Korea)
Details of these & other future events can be found here. Please send relevant event information to Maja Janjic:
Vacancies at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: Current vacancies: Further details & other recently posted jobs available here. To submit a new job announcement in business & human rights please go here.
We take no position on views by commentators, organisations & companies in the materials in this email:
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