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Weekly Update - 27 May 2015

Lead Story

Spotlight on Qatar working conditions as Fifa Presidential elections loom


Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

120 investor CEOs urge finance ministers to support long-term emissions reduction in global climate deal

also on business & climate change: German Prosecutor discontinues investigation against manager of Danzer Group over alleged complicity in human rights abuses in Dem. Rep. of Congo

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

Colombian trade unionist sues BP in UK courts over alleged complicity in his abduction by paramilitaries 13 years ago - includes video

Guardian (UK)

  • BP says it will “vigorously” defend the claim, refutes involvement with or knowledge of the trade unionist's experience
Event report: Organizations discuss proposed binding treaty on business & human rights from an EU perspective

CIDSE, FIAN Intl., FIDH, Franciscans Intl., Friends of the Earth Europe & Intl. Commission of Jurists

UN Working Group issues new reports & updates its communication procedure for submitting complaints
See also:
Angola: Confusion & anger at Rafael Marques defamation trial as prosecutors ask for a jail sentence despite deal to drop the charges


  • last week the generals apparently agreed to drop the charges on condition that Marques would not re-release his book that accuses them of corruption & torture
  • Tiffany & Co., Leber Jeweler, and Brilliant Earth issue statements in support of Rafael Marques
Nigeria: Amnesty Intl. warns investors Shell's profit statement does not count "true cost" of Niger Delta oil spills

Quartz (USA); Amnesty Intl.

  • we invited Shell to respond - response by Shell Petroleum Development Company provided
Report of High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa says USD50 billion lost annually through tax avoidance & fraud, mainly through commercial activities
  •  UN says IFFs are "a huge drain and a hindrance in addressing the developmental needs of the African people"
So. Africa: Miners & trade union to seek court order compelling release of report into Marikana massacre


Brazil: Despite improvements, Zara needs to do more to comply with commitments to end & prevent forced labour, NGOs say

SOMO & Repórter Brasil

  • company reportedly still not monitoring its production chain sufficiently
  • we invited Zara/Inditex to respond - response provided
  • some items also available in Portuguese 
Peru: Civil society representatives attend Newmont's shareholders’ meeting to raise human rights concerns at Yanacocha mine

EarthRights Intl.

  • we invited Newmont to respond - response provided
Peru: Govt. declares state of emergency at Southern Copper mine, where more deaths & injuries have been reported


Asia & Pacific
Updates on Kentex footware factory fire in Philippines that left 72 dead; CNN Philippines; Rappler (Philippines)

  • EU & ILO concerned poor work conditions may have contributed to deaths
  • Philippines Govt. says Kentex workers were underpaid; company denies allegations
  • Philippines labour dept. & Bureau of Fire Protection to ramp up efforts to improve factory working conditions
Bangladesh: Hugo Boss faces allegations of labour abuses at supplier factories

Dr. Gisela Burckhardt; FEMNET; Clean Clothes Campaign

  • we invited Hugo Boss to respond - response provided
  • also available in German
India: Tech firms launch programmes to support expectant women & retain new mothers in their workforce

Hindu Business Line (India)

Cambodia: Dam project threatens livelihood of Chong people - short film  

Kalyanee Mam 

Cambodian Govt. plans to further weaken labour rights & send workers to Qatar, says ITUC

Intl. Trade Union Confederation; Phnom Penh Post

Europe & Central Asia
Philip Morris Intl. & British American Tobacco launch multi-billion compensation claims over UK plain packaging law

Telegraph (UK); Guardian (UK); Wall Street Journal, BBC

  • companies argue that forced plain packaging amounts to deprivation of valuable intellectual property
  • other tobacco companies also expected to file suits
  • claims could be as high as £11 billion say commentators
Kazakhstan: 1 construction worker killed, 21 injured in bridge collapse - govt. launches investigation

Tengrinews (Kazakhstan)

France: New law requires supermarkets to give unsold food to charity to reduce food waste

Guardian (UK)

Middle East & North Africa
Egypt: Campaign "Towards a Fair Labour Law" presents govt. with draft law

Daily News (Egypt)

  • says govts. "current draft prioritizes foreign investment over workers" rights
Company responses Non-responses
Call for input: Forced labour & exploitation accountability database (deadline: 12 June)

Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)

Brazil: Call for papers on business & human rights (deadline: 31 May)

Associação Nacional de Direitos Humanos, Pesquisa e Pós- Graduação and Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

Forthcoming events
  • building climate-resilient supply chains (London, 28 May)
  • supporting lawyers' implementation of UN Guiding Principles (London, 28 May)
  • coaching on business & children's rights (Köln, 17-18 June; register by 29 May)
  • summer school on children's rights & business (Leiden, 6-9 July; register by 1 Jun)
  • course on worker's rights in a global economy (online, 1 Jun - 10 Jul)
  • book launch of "Beyond Governments: Making Collective Governance Work" (Washington DC, 1 Jun)
  • implementing effective worker representation in your supply chain (London, 2 Jun)
  • panel: countering trafficking through business & human rights (The Hague, 2 Jun)
  • farm worker justice in global supply chains (Washington DC, 3 Jun)
  • "Achieving Justice & Human Rights in an era of Climate Disruption" (Waterloo, 3 Jun)
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:  
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