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Weekly Update 23 July 2014

Lead Story

New Zealand: NGO WeCAN files OECD complaints against construction & insurance companies, alleges housing & health abuses due to inadequate response after 2010 earthquake

Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • we invited 5 companies to respond - Arrow Intl., Fletcher Construction, Tower Insurance responded; IAG New Zealand, Vero Insurance New Zealand did not respond
  • we also invited 2 govt. entities to respond - Earthquake Commission responded; Southern Response Earthquake Services did not respond
  • also provided: letter of support to WeCAN by Univ. of Canterbury, media coverage
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Members of Parliament & NGOs urge British Govt. to intervene regarding alleged killings at African Barrick Gold's Tanzania mine

Guardian (UK)

  • article includes statements by African Barrick Gold
Save the Children calls on govts. & business to tackle tax evasion to prevent child mortality

"New UN Human Rights Commissioner needs to get down to business", say Salil Tripathi & Scott Jerbi, Institute for Human Rights and Business

Commentary: "Treaties & The UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights: The Way Forward"

Caroline Rees of Shift

"A seismic shift in improving the behaviour of large companies?"
  • Phil Bloomer, Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, says debate around UN Guiding Principles & proposed binding treaty should lead to progress rather than divisions
Irish Govt. issues warning on investing or doing business in Israeli settlements 

Shane Darcy, Business & Human Rights in Ireland blog

New on Measuring Business & Human Rights:
  • blog posts by: Charline Daelman of Univ. of Leuven on measuring impact of business on children's rights; Eve Norridge of MeasureUp on indicators to compare ethics of fashion brands
Commentary: "Why businesses fail to engage with human rights & what they can do to increase responsiveness" - with a focus on supply chain human trafficking and modern-day slavery

Richard Welford, CSR Asia

Report: "Women, business and human rights"

Marston Consulting

New on Business and Human Rights Reporting and Assurance Frameworks Initiative (“RAFI”):
  • London & New York expert meeting reports; Eminent Persons Group June meeting report
Niger: Activists questioning govt. deal with Areva arrested in advance of French president's visit
  • released by 21 July, but NGOs still concerned about the risks they face
Coca-Cola project leverages company’s distribution network to improve delivery of medical supplies to 10 African countries by 2019

Triple Pundit

Malawi: "Open Letter to Pres. Peter Mutharika" calls for shelving oil exploration on Lake Malawi to avert loss of livelihoods

Maravi Post (Malawi)

Uganda: "Mining and its impacts on Water, Food Sovereignty and Sacred Natural Sites and Territories"

report by National Association of Professional Environmentalists & Gaia Foundation

Kenya: Medical board finds private clinic negligent after pregnant woman dies during operation

Daily Nation (Kenya)

Kenya: Nestlé partnership empowers women farmers to boost coffee production

Standard Digital (Kenya)

Tanzania: Study reveals risks of uranium mining for mine workers, the environment & communities

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Germany)

  • includes link to full report
Report raises concerns about lack of transparency in Enel's coal supply chain
  • concerns include human rights abuses linked to Colombian coal
  • we invited Enel to respond - response provided
Brazil: Anglo American responds regarding Ministry of Labour decision to fine over alleged use of forced labour, "illegal" outsourcing

IndustriALL singles out Mexico & Colombia for “special attention” due to severe abuses of freedom of association

Academics argue US Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision over contraception coverage violates anti-discrimination law

Bloomberg View

Bolivia: New law allows children over 10 years old to work; ILO to decide whether legislation breaches intl. standards on child labour


Peru: Survival Intl. calls on President Humala to protect uncontacted indigenous peoples from logging, gas & mining
Asia & Pacific
India: Slideshow - "Taking business and human rights discussions to where they are most needed"
  • reporting back on site-visits & workshop in mining belt of Odisha
  • organized by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, in partnership with University Law College, Utkal University and Professor Surya Deva
India: How internet laws are "holding back economic innovation and freedom of expression"

Global Network Initiative, Internet and Mobile Association of India

Thilawa special economic zone in Myanmar:


  • investigator visits Yangon, meets with displaced villagers over complaint filed under Japanese development agency's (JICA) objection procedures
Philippines: Groups criticise Barrick Gold’s settlement offer in US case regarding the 1996 Marcopper mine spill in Marinduque (Philippines), EarthRights Intl.

  • Barrick Gold acquired Placer Dome, which was Marcopper parent firm at time of spill
  • Barrick Gold has reportedly offered settlement with conditions that petitioner Province of Marinduque & others find unacceptable
  • we invited Barrick Gold to respond - response provided  
Labour rights in Bangladesh garment industry:
NYU Stern's second response to Prof. Appelbaum regarding the NYU Stern report "Business as Usual is Not an Option"
Europe & Central Asia
Spain: Thousands rally in Madrid to oppose arrests of striking workers

Intl. Trade Union Confederation 

UK: Payday lender company Wonga to remove advert featuring puppets to avoid attracting children, amid consumers protest

Huffington Post (UK) 

Serbia: Workers join general strike for living wages & better working conditions

Intl. Trade Union Confederation

Ireland: Govt. passes new employment law to prevent exploitation of undocumented migrant workers (Ireland)

Bulgaria: Workers from Avtomagistrali-Tcherno More engineering firm protest overdue salaries

FOCUS News Agency (Bulgaria)

Middle East & North Africa
"We're watching you": Economist commentary highlights govt. repression of activists online in the Gulf region

Economist; Human Rights Watch; Citizen Lab; Hacking Team

  • cites presence of Hacking Team surveillance software in Saudi Arabia; Hacking Team Customer Policy provided
Company responses Non-responses
UN seeking input to 3rd UN Forum on Business & Human Rights - Geneva, Dec; deadline for input & side event proposals extended to 1 Aug

UN Working Group seeks input in online consultation re guidance on national action plans to implement UN Guiding Principles (due 1 Sep)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre staff will participate in the 2014 London Triathlon (2 Aug) to fundraise for our charity
Forthcoming events:  Details of these and future events can be found here

Please send relevant event information to Sam Whannel:
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre are recruiting a Communications & Corporate Accountability Officer (deadline: 28 Aug)

Other job postings: further details and other recently posted jobs available here
please send job announcements to Sam Whannel:
IndustriALL destaca a México y Colombia como países de especial atención por graves abusos de derechos sindicales

Colombia: Programa Presidencial de Derechos Humanos y D.I.H. lanza los "Lineamientos para una política de Derechos Humanos y Empresas"

Chile: Comunidades afectadas por falta de consulta previa en proyecto de infraestructura recurrirán a la Comisión Interamericana

Tribuna Bio Bio

Chile: Panel sobre empresas y derechos humanos - CIEDH presenta tendencias internacionales, regionales y nacionales (Santiago, 28 de julio)

Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Diego Portales y el Observatorio Ciudadano

Argentina: Indígenas mapuche piden que el consorcio YPF-Chevron respete el derecho a la consulta previa, libre e informada (incluye carta de la empresa YPF)

Bolivia: Nueva ley admite el trabajo de niños y niñas desde los 10 años; la OIT decidirá si ello infringe los estándares sobre trabajo infantil

Diario Rio Negro; Correo del Sur

  • Experto critíca la medida
Perú: Survival International apela al presidente Humala para proteger indígenas en aislamiento de extractivas

Perú: Autoridades laborales imponen multa a filial de Glencore por despido de trabajadores

Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en el Perú

Colombia: Comunidades protestan por la ampliación de licencia a petroleras, alegando daños sociales y ambientales

Mesa Regional de Organizaciones Sociales de Putumayo, Baja Bota Caucana y Cofania Jardines de Sucumbíos; Conap Comunicaciones

  • Policía "arremete violentamente" contra comunidades campesinas de Teteyé
Colombia: Taller sobre negociación y solución preventiva y productiva del conflicto con la comunidad – 30 y 31 de julio, Bogotá


Colombia: Minera Eco Oro mantendrá exploración, pese a que las comunidades temen pérdida de derecho de acceso al agua


Argentina: Empresa Lear recusa fallo judicial que dictamina la ilegalidad de la suspensión de cientos de trabajadores

Mario Hernández, en Argenpress

Bolivia: Trabajadores mineros exigen renuncia de gerente de filial de Pan American por supuesta persecución laboral y sindical

ANF - Agencia

España: Sindicatos y trabajadores manifiestan en Madrid a favor del derecho a la huelga y la libertad sindical

Union General de Trabajadores de España (UGT)

Perú firma acuerdo con Alemania para promover cooperación económica en materias primas y en gestión medioambiental y social - Amnistía Internacional insta a los gobiernos a respetar derechos humanos

RPP Noticias

Canadá: Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos condena a mineras y reclama a Estados por no prevenir violaciones


Rép. dém. du Congo : Accusée de pollution chimique, l'entreprise KCC promet de régler le problème

Radio Okapi (Rép. dém. du Congo)

Niger : Dix défenseurs des droits de l'homme opposants à Areva arrêtés ont été finalement libérés

Jeune Afrique

Niger : Areva peut mieux aider le pays, selon Guy Gweth, Conseiller en intelligence économique

Financial Afrik (Mauritanie)

Chine : Samsung suspend un contrat avec un fournisseur qui aurait employé des enfants


Bolivie : Une nouvelle loi autorise les enfants de 10 ans à travailler

Le Point (France)

Etats-Unis : Un tribunal demande au cigarettier RJ Reynolds de dédommager la veuve d’un fumeur

Danièle Guinot, Le Figaro (France)

  • les dommages et intérêts s'élèvent à 23,6 milliards de dollars
IndustriALL souligne que le Mexique et la Colombie ont besoin d'une attention particulière en raison de violations graves de la liberté syndicale

Madagascar : L'agro-industrie s'impose à marche forcée au détriment de l'agriculture familiale, selon le Collectif TANY

Pambazuka News

Sanofi explique l’intégration des droits de l’homme dans les politiques et pratiques de l’entreprise


La Côte d'Ivoire veut améliorer la traçabilité de son diamant


L'Afrique a besoin de plus d'investissements pour un développement inclusif et durable, selon le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies Ban Ki-moon et le Président de l'Assemblée générale de l'ONU
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre takes no position on the views presented by commentators, organisations and companies in the materials listed in this email or linked to in our website. As with any library, our purpose is to provide access to a wide selection of materials representing diverse viewpoints on matters of public interest. We do not exercise any editorial control over the materials and cannot vouch for their accuracy.

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