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Weekly Update - 19 August 2015

Lead Story
China: Explosions in Tianjin at Rui Hai International Logistics warehouse kill over 100 & injure many more

Guardian (UK); Caixin (China); China Dialogue; Wall Street Journal

  • president & vice-chairman of the company are among 10 employees detained by authorities
  • company is alleged to have "handled toxic chemicals without a licence" - it is reported to have received the required licence shortly before the explosion
  • in 2012 residents protested the construction of chemical plants saying the proximity to residential areas posed risks
Embedded image permalink
(Photo credit: Lucy Watson, ITV News)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe &
Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Companies speaking out for human rights: Views for business & civil society

Prof. Dr. Florian Wettstein, University of St. Gallen & Mauricio Lazala, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

From "Corporate Social Responsibility" to "Business & Human Rights": New challenges for Chinese Companies

Lowell Chow, East Asia Researcher & Representative, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: Consultation deadline extended until 2 Oct
US court voids rule requiring companies to state whether minerals in supply chain are "conflict-free" - finds rule violates corporate "free speech" rights

Free Speech for People (USA); Reuters; Global Witness

  • Global Witness says decision misinterprets the First Amendment 
FIFA makes UN Guiding Principles "compulsory for both contractual partners and those within the supply chain"

Technology firms take steps to increase gender & racial diversity within workforce

Tech Times (USA); USA Today

"What the [US] State Department’s Human Trafficking Report Means for Business Supply Chains"

Kilian Moote, KnowtheChain, in Triple Pundit

US appeals court decision expected to require Microsoft to hand over emails on its Irish server: Privacy fears raised

Microsoft, on Corporate Counsel (USA)

Tech company, Hacking Team, accused of failing to investigate or prevent reported abuses of its technology by Ethiopian Govt. against dissidents

The Register (UK)

  • article includes company comments
Nigeria: Open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging action to tackle oil pollution in the Niger Delta

Amnesty Intl., National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta (NACGOND), Platform & others

Experts call on African leaders to tackle tax avoidance & use recovered funds to finance development

New Telegraph (Nigeria) 

USA: Company fined nearly USD 1.8 million for employing Mexican migrant workers to remove asbestos without required safety equipment

Associated Press

NGO launches "Vale Unsustainability Report 2015" detailing more than 30 cases of alleged environmental & human rights abuses including allegations of modern slavery in Brazil

Intl. Articulation of those Affected by Vale

  • we invited Vale to respond - response provided
Argentina: Following alleged dismissal of workers over their unionisation in Arauco, authorities order “compulsory arbitration”, confirm “lack of health and safety”


Asia & Pacific
Video: "Human rights defenders in India's mining belt" 

Amnesty Intl. India

Myanmar: Civil society groups comment on govt.'s draft telecom master plan, call for privacy, free expression, equitable access to information
  • comments from Access, Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB)
  • text of Draft Telecommunications Masterplan provided
Vietnam: Court releases Mekong Delta land rights activist, sentenced to 6 years in prison in 2011 

Radio Free Asia

Myanmar: “Land rights activists are newest political prisoners”, says Human Rights Watch 

Update on Andy Hall v. Natural Fruit case: Indictment decision due on 24 Aug
  • Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) asks member companies to request Natural Fruit to drop charges
  • we invited 7 US companies that buy from Natural Fruit to provide a statement - we will indicated whether they respond or not next week
Europe & Central Asia
UK National Action Plan review workshops: Summary of recommendations raised

UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills; UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Finland's new govt. freezes funding of corporate responsibility watchdog Finnwatch


UK: McDonald’s fires manager who allegedly cut hours of black employees

Independent (UK)

Middle East & North Africa
KLP to divest from HeidelbergCement & Cemex over mining in Occupied Palestinian Territories


Qatar launches wage protection system for migrant workers

Agence France-Presse

Turkey: Constitutional court rules Govt. decision to postpone strike by employees at glass compan Şişecam violated workers' rights

Cihan News Agency (Turkey)

Company responses Non-responses
Registration open & draft programme available for 4th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights (Geneva, 16-18 Nov 2015)
Mary Robinson Speaker Series - Climate justice and business: Human rights from the frontlines to Paris (New York, 23 Sep)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Other forthcoming events:
  • opportunities & risks for ethical trade in Ethiopia & Myanmar (London, 27 Aug)
  • Global Child Forum 2015 (Pretoria, 8 Sep)
  • short course on human rights for business people (London, 8 Sep)
  • legal workshop on business & human rights (London, 15 Sep)
  • launch of Law Society business & human rights programme (London, 15 Sep) 
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (Anglophone Southern & Western Africa Researcher & Representative)

Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
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