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9 January 2019

Lead Story
Cambodia: 1200 garment workers sacked after strike demanding payment of benefits

Phnom Penh Post; Khmer Times

  • Workers from W&D garment company and Seduno Investment Cambo Fashion went on strike to demand payment of their seniority indemnity & severance benefits
  • Companies issued ultimatum stating that those who did not return to work within 48 hours would be sacked; Labour Ministry spokesman said he agreed with companies issuing ultimatum
  • W&D garment company fired around 1200 workers who refused to return 
photo credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific
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From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Interview with Maya Ch'orti' activist Domingo Vázquez Ramírez on the dangers faced by indigenous land defenders in Guatemala 

Survey reveals Japanese apparel companies falling short on human rights policies

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Human Rights Now

  • Only a third of the 62 companies surveyed responded, of these 12 had procedures in place to prevent & remedy harmful human rights impacts of their businesses 
  • Several companies stated they had begun to strengthen their human rights policies, partly as a result of survey
International
Tiffany's to share with customers provenance of its newly sourced diamonds

New York Times

  • In 2020 Tiffany's will also provide customers with information on where their diamonds have been cut, polished & set
UK: Sierra Leone claimants lose case in high court against African Minerals over alleged complicity in police violence

Expatica; High Court of England and Wales

  • Claimants alleged company was complicit in killing of protester, rape, assault & false imprisonment
  • Case was heard in English court as accused company Tonkolili Iron Ore Ltd was subsidiary of UK-based African Minerals when violence took place
  • See summary of lawsuit here
Global analysis shows 77 per cent of attacks against human rights activists linked to defence of land, environmental & indigenous rights

FrontLine Defenders


Failing to inform workers about the hazardous substances they are exposed to amounts to exploitation by deception, says report on electronics industry

Common Rights & GoodElectronics Network

Africa
Uganda: Locals in oil-rich area accuse SBC Uganda of excluding them from job opportunities

Oil in Uganda

  • Article includes company comments
Commentary: Call to increase women's participation in Kenya's mining sector

Daily Nation (Kenya)

Americas
Argentina: Jujuy community claims SSR mining project caused social & environmental damages and affected water supply

Ocmal y Comunidades afectadas de Jujuy; SSR Mining

  • We invited SSR mining to repond; response provided
Brazil: In win for agribusiness Bolsonaro gives Agriculture Ministry power to decide on use of indigenous lands  

CBC News (Canada)

  • The Ministry of Agriculture is claimed to have “deep ties” to country’s powerful farm sector
Canada: Police arrest indigenous activists for blocking construction of Coastal Gaslink pipeline

Eco Watch; Guardian (UK); Union of BC Indian Chiefs

  • Company states it has approval from elected representatives of First Nation groups along pipeline route, but Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are the ones who control access to the land & do not want fossil fuel development on it
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johns Hopkins University & Rockefeller Foundation to face lawsuit over role in experiment that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with Syphilis

AFP

  • In 2010 US Govt. apologised for its 1940s medical experiment in Guatemala which deliberately & secretly infected hundreds of adults & children with syphilis
  • Guatemalan victims & their relatives filed a billion dollar lawsuit against the above institutions for the alleged involvement of their employees in project
  • Article includes company comments
Asia & Pacific
Indonesia: Supreme Court upholds USD69 million fine against palm oil company for negligence that caused forest fires

Coconuts Jakarta

  • Fine against PT National Sago Prima is largest ever imposed on plantation company for environmental damages in Indonesia
China adopts land law amendment in response to growing concern for farmers’ land rights

Xinhua News; Caixin

  • Under previous system, land had to be expropriated by local govt. before being sold for development, often leading to farmers being unfairly compensated 
Thailand deported 70,000 undocumented migrant workers from Myanmar in 2018

Myanmar Times


Malaysia’s proposal that employers deduct migrant worker wages to prevent them from fleeing is forced labour, argues civil society

Charles Hector for 49 civil society organisations

  • Withheld portion of wages would be returned to workers upon their leaving Malaysia, according to the proposal
India: Blast in illegal factory kills seven; owner accused of prioritising production over safety

Hindustan Times

Europe & Central Asia
Hungary: Thousands protest against "slave law" that doubles overtime employers can request  

New York Times

  • The recent labour amendments also allow employers to delay paying overtime for up to three years
EU Commission publishes draft rules to ensure investment firms & insurance distributors take into account sustainability issues when advising clients

European Commission


German football club Bayern FC defends its ties to Qatar

Reuters

Middle East & North Africa
Netflix pulls comedy episode criticising Saudi Arabia after request from kingdom officials

Guardian (UK)

  • Article includes company comments
Commentary: Abuse of migrant workers makes Dubai questionable tourist destination

Business Insider

Company responses
Non-responses
Events
Forthcoming events: 
  • Winter Academy: The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: From Theory to Practice (28 Jan-1 Feb, The Hague)
  • The state of corporate sustainability disclosure under the EU NFR Directive (8 Feb, Brussels)
  • 2019 OECD Forum on Due Diligence Guidance in the Garment and Footwear Sector (13-14 Feb, Paris)
Details of these & other future events can be found here. Please send relevant event information to Maja Janjic: janjic@business-humanrights.org.
Jobs
Vacancies at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: Other vacancies: Further details & other recently posted jobs available here. To submit a new job announcement in business & human rights please go here.
DISCLAIMER:
We take no position on views by commentators, organisations & companies in the materials in this email: http://business-humanrights.org/en/about-us/disclaimer
Copyright © 2019 Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, All rights reserved.


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