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Weekly Update - 1 March 2017

Lead Story
Human rights defenders under threat: New portal provides resources for defenders & companies
  • database of over 400 cases of attacks against activists working on corporate accountability
  • positive examples of company action on civic freedoms & human rights defenders
  • tools, resources, reports, case-studies & intl. standards
  • in-depth interviews with human rights defender Andy Hall, and companies S Group, & adidas – more to be added
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

We're hiring a Deputy Director, North America (based in New York, or possibly Washington DC, deadline 14 Mar)
How 3000 companies worldwide address 4 key areas of human rights - new study

Vigeo Eiris

  • finds under 4% of companies make commitments comprehensively covering human rights impacts for which they have responsibility
UN Working Group on business & human rights says some aspects of paper by Thun Group of Banks on finance sector's human rights responsibilities "do not accurately reflect some key elements" of UN Guiding Principles
  • additional commentaries by John Ruggie, BankTrack & other NGOs
  • response by Thun Group of Banks
New issue of Business & Human Rights Journal 
free access until April, includes articles on:
  • how corporate tax avoidance affects human rights - Shane Darcy
  • implementation of UN Guiding Principles in major sporting events - Lucy Amis
  • respecting human rights in conflict regions - Andreas Graff & Andrea Iff
Commentary: Debates on proposed binding treaty on business & human rights should be considerate of gender & race

Khuraisha Patel & Nomonde Nyembe, Univ. of the Witwatersrand, on Peace in Progress

How to use US law to access information to help initiate lawsuits abroad; case of Kiobel v. Shell in Netherlands (re Nigeria) as an example

Upasana Khatri, OxHRH Blog

So. Africa: Foreigners' homes & shops burned, looted & vandalised - Home Affairs Minister says business fuels local workers' xenophobia by hiring undocumented migrants

Times Live (So. Africa); Financial Times

Kenya: UN Special Rapporteur on human rights & environment, NGOs urge govt. to protect human rights defenders threatened after suing lead smelter for pollution

UN; Goldman Prize Foundation

Nigeria: Govt. declares pollution emergency in Port Harcourt, temporarily shuts down Chinese-owned asphalt processing plant


El Salvador: OceanaGold fails to pay USD 8 million intl. arbitration tribunal award; 280 NGOs demand the company leaves the country

teleSUR; statement by 280 NGOs worldwide

  • we invited OceanaGold to respond - response provided
USA: Investors call for respect for human rights by DAPL pipeline & due diligence on conflict minerals
  • 100 investors express continued support for requirement to disclose conflict minerals due diligence under Dodd Frank Act
  • 130 investors call on banks financing DAPL pipeline to address Sioux tribe's rights citing reputational & financial risks
Honduras: Indigenous tolupan leader, José Santos Sevilla, assassinated; tolupanes oppose mining & logging concession on ancestral lands

Democray Now

Nicaragua: Francisca Ramírez, leader of the anti-canal movement, describes abuses & attacks against peasants defending their land


Asia & Pacific
Bangladesh: Union leaders & garment workers released following boycott from international buyers

IndustriALL; Daily Star; Clean Clothes Campaign

  • in unprecedented action, leading retailers withdraw from Bangladesh garment industry’s annual showcase event
Malaysia: Workers claim discrimination against union leaders at Infineon's assembly factory

Charles Hector, Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud, Mohd Roszeli bin Majid, Pranom Somwong via Good Electronics, with support of 54 trade unions & groups

  • we invited Infineon to respond: response provided
Cambodia: Land rights activist Tep Vanny sentenced to 2.5 years in prison over charges related to 2013 protest

Cambodia Daily, Reuters

China: Hundreds of dispatched workers from Volkswagen Changchun protest for equal pay

China Labor Bulletin

Myanmar should halt development of special economic zones until intl. human rights laws & standards are met, says new report

Intl. Commission of Jurists

Europe & Central Asia
John Ruggie calls for greater EU leadership on business & human rights in letter to President of European Commission

John G. Ruggie, Harvard Univ., former UN Special Representative on business & human rights

Russia: Criminal complaints against grocery store owners for modern slavery & other severe labour abuses Further to 22 Feb update: Frequently Asked Questions on French corporate duty of vigilance law; law to be reviewed by constitutional court

European Coalition on Corporate Justice; EurActiv; Friends of the Earth Intl.; Sherpa

Middle East & North Africa

Intl. Rescue Committee; UNHCR; Al Fanar Media

  • on-going issues with work permits, legal restrictions, discrimination, informality
  • to improve, compacts must account for reality of constraints & facts on the ground
Jordan: Garment factory shut down after allegations of abuse against migrant workers

Jordan Times

Further to 22 Feb update: Vigeo Eiris responds to concerns over verifying certification of solar plant in Western Sahara

Western Sahara Watch

  • concerns cite intl. law regarding occupied Western Sahara & lack of consultations
Company responses
Call for Papers: Business & Human Rights Scholars Conference 2017 (due: 15 March)
Forthcoming events:
  • side-event on private sector & civic space (1 Mar, Geneva)
  • launch of multi-stakeholder engagement for Japanese NAP process (1 Mar, Tokyo)
  • 2017 Global Responsible Sourcing Summit (1-2 Mar, Los Angeles)
  • conflict mineral compliance & supply chain transparency (2-3 Mar, Amsterdam)
  • role of human rights defenders in sustainable development (2 Mar, Geneva)
  • forum: protection of Syrian refugee labour rights in Turkey (6 Mar, Hamburg) 
  • Corporate Human Rights Benchmark launch (13 Mar, London)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Deputy Director, North America at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (based in New York or possibly Washington DC, deadline 14 Mar)

Other current vacancies:
  • Center for Business & Human Rights at Stern School of Business, New York Univ. (Deputy Director)
  • Coalition for Human Rights in Development (Program & Communication Associate)
  • Fair Food Standards Council (2 posts: Director of Complaint Resolution; Financial Analyst)
  • Intl. Code of Conduct Association (Executive Director)
  • UNICEF UK (Children's Rights & Business Specialist)
Further details and 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, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
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