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Weekly Update - 20 January 2016

Lead Story

Tackling forced labour in global supply chains

(Photo credit: ITUC)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin highlights actions by communities to hold companies accountable
  • with new case profiles of lawsuits & updates to existing ones
  • also available in French, Spanish & Russian
  • register here to receive future issues, including in Chinese
Commentary: Plight of Syrian refugees in Turkish factories sending shock-waves through garment industry

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, on Huffington Post (UK)

Explore hundreds of documentaries, films, trailers, short videos on business & human rights
World Economic Forum Annual meeting kicks off in Davos
  • topics to be discussed include migration, climate change, inequality & privacy rights
  • Oxfam report calls for crackdown on tax dodging & higher wages for low-paid workers
Main trends in repression of human rights defenders in 2015

Front Line Defenders

  • 45% of killings were linked to defenders of environmental, land & indigenous peoples’ rights
Implications of UN Guiding Principles for banking sector: New report discusses banks' potential liabilities for impacts on human rights

UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative & Foley Hoag

NGO asks US appeals court to revive case against Cisco over alleged complicity in Chinese Govt. abuse

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Commentary: Human rights impacts of tax havens & low-tax areas have been "hiding in plain sight"

Paul R Beckett, Quinn Legal (UK)

Dem. Rep. of Congo: Report exposes child labour & hazardous conditions in cobalt mines behind smart phone & electric car batteries

Amnesty Intl. & Afrewatch

  • includes statements by Apple, BYD, Daimler, Dell, HP, Huawei, Lenovo (which owns Motorola Mobility), LG, Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, Vodafone, Volkswagen
Uganda: NGOs urge govt. to join Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to ensure oil revenue benefits locals; Guardian (UK)

Malawi: Villagers raise concern that local leaders' plan to sell land to investor without consulting them would compromise their livelihoods

Nyasa Times (Malawi)

Colombia: Report alleges abuses by security forces employed by Swedish & Latin American companies building Hidroituango dam


  • statement by Scania provided (only in Swedish)
  • we invited Latin American companies in the consortium to respond - Camargo Correa, Conconcreto & Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) responded; Coninsa-Ramón H did not respond
Widow of ISIS victim sues Twitter in US for allowing terrorist group to spread propaganda

Bursor & Fisher; Guardian (UK)

USA: 60% of women working in Silicon Valley experience unwanted sexual advances, says survey

Guardian (UK)

Asia & Pacific
Report: "‘Unruly’ ‘rebels’? The situation of defenders working on corporate accountability in East Asia"

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development & Intl. Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Myanmar: Govt. releases environmental impact assessment rules; text in Burmese & English provided

Myanmar Times; Greater Mekong Subregion Core Environment Program, Asian Development Bank

  • impact assessments to focus on project transparency & stakeholder acceptance
“Dirty Toys Made in China - Disney, Hasbro and Mattel must act”

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights

  • we invited the companies to respond - Disney, Mattel & Tai Nam Industrial responses provided; we will indicate whether Hasbro responds in a future Update
India: Twinings, Taylors of Harrogate, Fortnum & Mason stop sourcing tea from Assam Co. estate after investigation reveals dangerous working conditions


Myanmar: CITIC Consortium wins tender for Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone project amid local opposition

Frontier Myanmar; Myanmar Times; Mizzima (Myanmar)

  • locals file complaint with SEZ Committee; concerns include lack of transparency in bidding process, land rights, benefits for locals
Europe & Central Asia
France: 1 person dead & 5 in hospital after phase 1 clinical trial by Biotrial; company comments provided

BBC; Independent (UK)

Russia: Govt. declares dozens of environmental & human rights groups “foreign agents” preventing them from receiving foreign funding

Guardian (UK)

UK: Tech firms protest provisions of proposed internet surveillance legislation over privacy concerns


Middle East & North Africa
"Occupation, Inc.: How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violation of Palestinian Rights"

Human Rights Watch

  • report recommends for businesses to stop operating in, financing, servicing, or trading with Israeli settlements in order to comply with human rights responsibilities
  • includes statements by companies mentioned in the report such as Heidelberg Cement & RE/MAX
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says Qatar has made progress on improving rights of migrant labourers
Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • discussion on rights & working conditions in So. Africa (29 Jan, London)
  • legal training on business & human rights (6-7 Feb, London)
  • lessons from Bodo Community v Shell litigation (16 Feb, Oxford)
  • human rights law & the extractive industries (18-19 Feb, Panama City)
  • business & responsible taxation webinar (18 Feb, online)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
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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