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Weekly Update - 9 September 2015

Lead Story
Europe refugee crisis: Businesses take steps to offer support while others are accused of creating anti-refugee sentiment
  • head of German industry federation BDI calls for refugees to be offered jobs
  • Bayern Munich to donate 1.1 million USD to refugee crisis
  • UK tabloids Sun & Daily Mail accused of contributing to anti-refugee sentiment
  • Danish companies call on govt. to drop anti-refugee information campaign

(Photo credit: Caruso Penguin/Flickr)
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From us

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Latest additions to our "Debate the Treaty" blog series:  Mary Robinson Speaker Series - Climate justice and business: Human rights from the frontlines to Paris (New York, 23 Sep)
Brazilian labour court convicts Odebrecht Group for holding Brazilian workers in conditions akin to slavery in Angola; company comments included


IndustriALL working with major clothing brands for living wage in supply chains
  • firms to make enforceable commitments, building on Bangladesh Accord experience
  • process focuses on addressing root causes including purchasing practices, long-term commitments from buyers to suppliers
“I want to see a world without deliberate and unnecessary exploitation by multinational companies”, says lawyer Terry Collingsworth

Interview in Guardian (UK)

Commentary: "Why Consumers Matter in Realizing Workers' Rights"

Greg Asbed (Coalition of Immokalee Workers), Scott Nova (Worker Rights Consortium), Noelle Damico (Natl. Economic and Social Rights Initiative), on Huffington Post

Guide for advocates supporting communities to secure corporate accountability in agricultural investments

Intl. Institute for Environment & Development; Inclusive Development Intl.

So. Africa: NGO report criticises Vitol's human rights due diligence on Coal of Africa mines - cites impacts on health, housing, access to water, livelihoods

Bench Marks Foundation, Bread For All

  • Vitol is exclusive marketing agent for much of the coal exported by Coal of Africa
  • we invited Vitol to respond - response provided
  • also included: statement by Coal of Africa
Côte d'Ivoire: Fair Labor Association report finds child labour in Nestlé's cocoa supply chain
  • we invited Nestlé to respond - response provided
  • FLA assesses Nestlé's supply chain annually as part of Nestlé's Cocoa Plan
Nevsun releases new report on its Eritrean operations, finding no evidence of forced labour or other abuses - seeks to refute June 2015 UN report

Canadian Press

Canadian Supreme Court rules Ecuadorian plaintiffs can sue Chevron to enforce Ecuadorian oil pollution judgment

Globe and Mail (Canada)

Latin America: Documentary depicts risks faced by 4 environmental activists opposing agribusiness, hydroelectric projects & wind farms

Peace Brigades Intl.

  • risks include displacement, death threats & intimidation, arbitrary arrest & detention
Colombia: NGOs allege palm company Poligrow contributed to forced displacement & land grabs; opponents report having received death threats
  • we invited Poligrow to respond to the allegations; the company declined, citing a pending decision by a penal court where it sued the complainants
Asia & Pacific
Laos: Forest Stewardship Council terminates certification for tree plantation project over concerns about lack of adequate consultation with local communities
  • we invited Oji Paper (parent of Laos plantation firm) to respond - response provided
Japan: Parliament adopts law to promote women's role at the workplace

Japan Times

India: BBC investigates inhumane conditions in Assam's tea plantations - producers, brands respond
  • article includes comments by Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, McLeod Russel, Tata, Taylors of Harrogate, Twinings, Unilever
China: Labour disputes increase as manufacturing growth slows, employers leave without paying obligations

Intl. Business Times

Further to last week’s Update: Indonesia: West Papua communities protest against ANJ Group & subsidiary alleging land grabs, lack of consultation


  • solidarity group awasMIFEE issues rejoinder & ANJ Group responds
Europe & Central Asia
Uzbekistan: Concerns that autumn cotton harvest will again use forced labour - multinationals alleged to have supported 2014 harvest

Uzbek-German Forum for Human RIghts; Anti-Slavery Intl.; Cotton Campaign

  • firms say supporting harvest is a prerequisite for doing business in the country
  • we invited 4 companies accused of supporting 2014 harvest to state their positions: General Motors, Telenor, TeliaSonera and VimpelCom responded
UK: Hugo Boss fined GBP 1.2 million after admitting negligence over toddler's death in store

Dutch govt. to appeal ruling calling for more stringent climate policies due to human rights impacts of climate change


Middle East & North Africa
Norwegian pension fund KLP divests from Cemex & HeidelbergCement over concerns about their operations in the occupied West Bank
  • we invited the companies to respond - responses provided
Qatar: Ahlibank to open mobile ATMs in labour camps to help migrant workers access salaries

Middle East North Africa Financial Network

  • new wage protection system requires employers to transfer salaries electronically; some concerned about lack of ATMs
Global Compact Network Lebanon launched, with 37 participating companies

AlBawaba (Jordan)

Company responses Non-responses
Reminder: Registration open for UN Forum on Business & Human Rights (Geneva, 16-18 Nov)
Forthcoming events:
  • "Social responsibility & the extractives industry: Is conflict inevitable?" (London, 10 Sep)
  • seminar on child labour, student & juvenile workers (Guangzhou, 15 Sep)
  • legal workshop on business & human rights (London, 15 Sep)
  • launch of Law Society business & human rights programme (London, 15 Sep)
  • workshop on responsible supply chain management (Copenhagen, 16 Sep)
  • training: "Advancing your due diligence approach through stakeholder engagement" (Frankfurt am Main, 16 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 (Research & Projects Intern)

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