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Weekly Update - 25 May 2016

Lead Story

Living wage: Guidance & company responses

Ethical Trading Initiative releases practical guidance on implementing living wages in global supply chains

India: Cividep issues rejoinder to statements by Dell, H&M, Samsung regarding report on working conditions in garment & electronics industry
  • report claims global brands are not doing enough to ensure a dignified life for workers
  • responses by Dell, H&M, Samsung provided
(Photo credit: Cividep)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Help us enhance our Company Response Mechanism
  • we are inviting feedback on key questions by 7 Jun

Eniko Horvath, Senior Researcher

Business & human rights at Bonn climate change conference (16-26 May)
  • UN Special Rapporteur on human rights & environment calls for strong social & environmental safeguards for climate action projects supported by UN
  • Mary Robinson Foundation report assesses whether countries report on links between human rights & climate change
Intl. arbitration tribunal rejects Philip Morris claim against Australia over plain packaging law intended as public health measure


Report raises concerns about impacts of Vattenfall's coal business on climate & human rights


  • we invited Vattenfall to respond - response provided
Commentary: Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals & UN Guiding Principles requires companies to harness core operations & governments to lead by example through responsible public procurement

Francis West, UNICEF UK, on Business Fights Poverty

Africa: Activists claim corruption by British American Tobacco officials may have put lives at risk

Corporate Accountability Intl.

  • we invited British American Tobacco to respond - response provided
So. Africa: 1 worker killed, 1 trapped at Implats mine - union urges companies to better protect workers' lives

IOL; e-News Channel Africa (So. Africa)

Côte d'Ivoire & Ghana: Child well-being & community development should be prioritised to fight child labour in cocoa sector, says report

Embode; commissioned by Mondelēz Intl.

Guatemala: Criminal libel case against peasant leader opposing cement plant threatens to stifle dissent by human rights defenders

Upside Down World 

Mexico: Agribusiness uses most available water while locals suffer scarcity & health risks

New York Times

Chile: Following local protests over access to water, Antofagasta mine reaches deal with part of the community; lawsuit to stop dam continues


USA: New bill could let govt. contractors discriminate against female & LGBT employees on religious basis

Washington Blade (USA); American Civil Liberties Union

Asia & Pacific
Myanmar: 51 workers of Myanmar Veneer Plywood charged over protests for fair wages & freedom of association


Malaysia: Online news portal Malaysiakini wins defamation suit filed by Raub Australian Gold Mining over reports of its operation's health impacts


China: Close to 80% of European & US companies polled by American Chamber of Commerce in China agree that internet censorship impedes business growth

Wall Street Journal

Japan: Joint NGO letter says Olympics timber sourcing code "inadequate and unsustainable"

Friends of the Earth Japan, Global Environment Forum, Japan Tropical Forest Action Network

  • NGOs also raise concern about lack of consultation & transparency around code
Europe & Central Asia
NGOs welcome 8 EU parliaments' initiative to ensure corporate accountability for human rights abuses

Amnesty Intl., European Coalition for Corporate Justice, CIDSE, Forum Citoyen pour la RSE

  • initiative calls for duty of care of EU companies towards people affected by their activities
  • initiated by parliaments of Estonia, Lithuania, Portugal & Slovakia; French Natl. Assembly; Italian Senate; Netherlands House of Reps.; UK House of Lords
Kazakhstan: Aktobemunaygaz oil workers raise concerns about significant difference in salaries paid to local & foreign workers (only available in Russian)

Объектив Казахстан

  • we invited the company to respond - it did not do so
UK: 5 step guide for company boards on business & human rights

Equality & Human Rights Commission (UK); Shift

UN Special Rapporteur on toxics & human rights calls on German chemical firms & govt. to put victims at centre of Natl. Action Plan
  • responses from BASF & German Chemical Industry Federation also provided
Middle East & North Africa
Turkey: Photo series shows child labour & low wages faced by Syrian refugees in garment industry


UK trade unions ask G4S for update on its activities in Israel & Palestine, including at checkpoints, in prisons

Unite the Union, UNISON, NUT, UCATT Fire Brigades Union, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want, Stop G4S

  • letter seeks clarification following G4S’ announcement in May that it would be selling its Israeli subsidiary
  • we invited G4S to respond - response provided
Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • Turkish law, intl. standards, business & human rights (26 May, Istanbul)
  • UK Modern Slavery Act - implications for Asia (26 May, online)
  • webinar: embedding human rights in business solutions (30 May, online)
  • expert seminar on business & human rights (31 May, Ontario)
  • seminar: doing business differently for children (6 Jun, London)
  • 2016 Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct (8-9 Jun, Paris)
  • Intl. Maritime Human Rights Conference (14 Sep, London)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
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