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Weekly Update - 17 February 2016

Lead Story

Guatemala: Allegations of abuses against community members opposing hydroelectric projects

(Photo credit: Prensa Comunitaria Guatemala; Misión Ríos Vivos)

Local residents opposed to hydroelectric project in San Mateo Ixtatán allege intimidation & arbitrary detention by ex-paramilitaries

Centro de Medios Independientes

  • we invited Solel Boneh (part of Shikun & Binui) to respond; response provided
  • full article only available in Spanish; English summary provided
Expert report raises concerns about indigenous peoples' rights in the context of America Trans Group’s hydroelectric projects

Julian Burger, Monica Feria-Tinta & Claire McGregor

  • notes concerns about land rights, free, prior & informed consent, criminalisation of protesters & potential impacts of dams on communities' livelihood
  • we invited America Trans Group to respond; response provided (only in Spanish)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Consultation on Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: open 8-26 Feb
  • focuses on recent changes to measurements & indicators
Upcoming webinar: "Business & Responsible Taxation" (18 Feb)

UN Global Compact and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Report analyses how human rights can be integrated within the financial system

Institute for Human Rights and Business


Civil society coalition says EU Council's position on conflict minerals regulation undermines OECD Guidelines, calls for mandatory due diligence

Amnesty Intl., Global Witness & civil society coalition partners

  • Enough Project says US conflict minerals legislation reduced violence in Dem. Rep. of Congo, but more company action is needed
Adidas introduces clause in its sponsorship deals affirming LGBT rights

Stylist (UK)

Commentary: "The Business Case for Civic Space"

Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, CIVICUS

  • recommends 3 areas for company action: easing restrictions on intl. funding, protecting open access in cyberspace, addressing global inequality
Commentary: Puvan Selvanathan's resignation from UN Working Group a wake-up call, says Oxfam America

Irit Tamir & Judy Beals, Oxfam America

Documentary claims Nevsun Resources uses conscripted labour in its Eritrean mine, company denies allegations

Fifth Estate

Kenya enacts law to reduce corporate tax avoidance & calls for regional cooperation

CNBC Africa; Bloomberg Business

Kenya: UN Sustainable Development Goals are opportunity for business to transform lives of communities, says CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank Group

Kenya Commercial Bank Group, on Capital FM (Kenya)

Latin America: Several conflicts over mining projects result in deaths, injuries; recommendations for responsible mining

The Economist

Brazil: Journalist & human rights defender says Jornal Edição do Brasil newspaper published defamatory article on his work leading to death threats

Leonardo Sakamoto (Brazil)

  • includes company comments; articles only available in Portuguese
Colombia: Constitutional Court orders suspension of mining & oil permits in ecological zones to protect access to water


  • NGO says ruling "should serve as an example for other countries in the region"
Asia & Pacific
Registration open for Asia Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (19-20 Apr)

UN Working Group on business & human rights

Thailand: Tungkum mining company urged to drop defamation charges against journalists & community members opposing mining project
  • journalists & community members raised concerns about mine's environmental impacts & access to water
  • defamation charges infringe on freedom of expression, says Fortify Rights
China: Leading women's rights organization closes down amid escalating clampdown on civil society

Guardian (UK); South China Morning Post

  • centre helped migrant workers & female engineers forced to retire earlier than male counterparts among others
Taiwan: Developer of collapsed building in Tainan earthquake arrested, suspected of causing fatalities

New York Times; United Daily News

Philippines: Labour Commission finds hairstylist guilty of discriminating against HIV-positive ex-employee

InterAksyon (Philippines)

Europe & Central Asia
UK: 2 men jailed over trafficking of Lithuanian twins found working in chicken factory supplying leading supermarkets

Guardian (UK)

UK: New law requires companies with 250+ employees to publish gender pay gap on their website

Independent (UK)

36 German companies launch initiative to promote integration of refugees into society & labour market


Middle East & North Africa
Commentary: Where is the level playing field for responsible business in Iran?

John Morrison, Institute for Human Rights and Business

Qatar: Court of Cassation overturns lower court decision to acquit Villaggio Mall manager & Gympanzee nursery co-owners over fatal fire

Doha News (Qatar)

Company responses
Consultation on OECD due diligence guidance for responsible supply chains in garment & footwear sector (10 Feb-7 Mar)

Consumer Goods Forum invite responses to survey on modern slavery to help inform industry's approach (open until 29 Feb) 
Forthcoming events:
  • labour standards, trafficking & supply chain management (18 Feb, online)
  • human rights law & the extractive industries (18-19 Feb, Panama City)
  • debate: is a binding treaty a good or bad idea? (19 Feb, Johannesburg)
  • how emerging technologies can support human rights (23 Feb, Berkeley)
  • GreenBiz 2016 (23-25 Feb, Phoenix)
  • discussion on disability & ethical trade (25 Feb, London)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Internship at Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (deadline 2 Mar)

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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