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Weekly Update - 6 August 2014

Lead Story
US-Africa Leaders Summit (4-6 Aug): Civil society calls for investment that respects human rights

African Coalition for Corporate Accountability, Global Rights, Global Witness, Institute for Human Rights and Business, Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Africa PWYP Steering Committee, Africa Progress Panel and others

Also provided:
  • open letters from African civil society to President Obama and heads of state
  • "Investment that respects rights can be 'an act of justice'", says Joe Kibugu of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
  • Global Witness urges USA to push for transparency in natural resource wealth management to transform lives in Africa
  • US President Obama's speech at US-Africa Business Forum
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

US Court rules Union Carbide cannot be sued for Bhopal chemical plant contamination in India despite plaintiffs' evidence company oversaw construction

Earth Rights Intl., Hindu (India)

  • Earth Rights Intl. says the decision is “erroneous” & plans to appeal
  • includes full text of judgment, case profile also provided
John Ruggie comments on civil society participation in implementing UN Guiding Principles & responds to binding treaty debate

Casio adopts a human rights policy - refers to UN Guiding Principles

New on National Action Plans on business & human rights:
  • campaign urges US to adopt National Action Plan - petition open for signatures
  • Tanzania commits to adopt National Action Plan
  • reminder: UN Working Group online consultation re guidance on National Action Plans (deadline 1 Sep)
Switzerland's highest court rejects case against Nestlé over alleged indirect responsibility for death of Colombian trade unionist

AFP, European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights

  • European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights criticises decision
  • case profile also provided
Kenya: Residents from oil-rich area who gave up ancestral land for oil prospecting claim they are yet to benefit; includes Tullow Oil's comments

Standard Digital (Kenya)

Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil & Gas urges oil companies to respect local communities' rights

Zambia: Mopani Copper Mines says it has invested USD 200 million in community projects since 2010, including water & sanitation support

Post (Zambia)

US National Labor Relations Board rules McDonald's could be held responsible for unfair labour conditions in franchisees' operations


  • also provided: commentary by Christine Bader, visiting scholar at Columbia Univ.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights report on indigenous peoples in isolation highlights impact of extractive sector
  • says "most incursions into their territories take place in the context of extraction of natural resources"
Guatemala: Video of human rights defender Aura Lolita Chávez on attacks she suffered over her work “in defense of life & territory and against mega-projects”

Front Line Defenders

Trailer of documentary "Oil and Water", on efforts to improve social & environmental practices in Amazon’s oil & gas industry

Francine Strickwerda & Lauren Spellman-Smith (directors)

Brazil: NGOs launch campaign against slave-like working conditions in construction companies

Walk Free, Repórter Brasil, Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT)

  • we invited Anglo American, Brookfield, Emccamp, MRV, OAS and Racional to respond. OAS did not respond - all other companies responded
  • campaign and responses only available in Portuguese - Anglo American response only available in English
USA: Walgreens resolves not to transfer headquarters overseas after critics said it would allow company to avoid US tax

Think Progress (USA)

Asia & Pacific
Taiwan: Explosions in Kaohsiung kill at least 28 & injure almost 300, after LCY allegedly failed to shut gas pipeline despite detecting pressure drop


  • comments from company provided
  • 台湾:高雄连环气爆近300人死伤,被指因李长荣化工未注意管线异常降压
  • 包含企业回应
China: Explosion at Zhongrong Metal Production plant in Kunshan kills at least 70 

Wall Street Journal

  • 中国: 昆山中荣金属制品工厂爆炸致超过70人死亡
China: InterContinental fails to prevent complicity in human rights violations in relation to its planned hotel in Lhasa, Tibet, says civil society group

Free Tibet

  • we invited InterContinental to respond - response provided
Myanmar: Report raises concerns about dangerous working conditions amid construction boom - cites positive initiative by Proximity Designs

Irrawaddy (Myanmar)

"Shaping a sustainable garment sector in Myanmar - key opportunities built on local context"


Japan: User data leaked by Benesse Holdings raises concerns over customer privacy; treatment of workers also a concern

  • original article in Japanese; unofficial English-language summary also provided
  • 日本:情報漏えいも起こるべくして起きた!? ベネッセのブラック経営
  • ベネッセ、個人情報漏えいに関するお詫びとお知らせ
Vietnam: Union calls for minimum wage increase; survey says current minimum wages only cover 69-77% of actual living costs

Thanh Nien News

Samsung to do 30% less business with Chinese supplier after child labour found at factory


  • Samsung says it took measure against Dongguan Shinyang to hold it responsible for failing to monitor its subcontractors
Cambodia: Displaced farmers petition ANZ for compensation despite its recent decision to cut ties with Phnom Penh Sugar - includes ANZ comments

Cambodia Daily

Thailand: Costco, Morrisons, Tesco & others join meeting hosted by CP Foods on addressing trafficking & forced labour in supply chains

Guardian (UK)

Europe & Central Asia
Walk Free calls on Daewoo to cease processing cotton made with forced labour in Uzbekistan
  • we invited Daewoo to respond - response provided
UK House of Lords debate highlights need to include human rights in Colombia trade pact, per UK Natl. Action Plan

David Alton, Independent Crossbench Life Peer, UK House of Commons

Hungary: Unions protest at Hankook Tire factory claiming dismissal of 2 workers linked to union membership - includes company comments


Richard Howitt, European Parliament Rapporteur on CSR urges EU to keep business responsibility a priority; encourages participation in EU public consultation on CSR
  • consultation open until 15 Aug
Middle East & North Africa
Members of London Palestine Action chain themselves to roof of UAV Engines over claims it arms the Israeli army

IBT, RT, Lichfield Live

  • Amnesty Intl. says no UK-based company should currently be supplying the Israeli military with any arms or equipment
Google removes "Bomb Gaza" mobile game from online app store, following public backlash

Guardian (UK)

Libya: 13,000 Filipino workers in Libya trapped in crossfire between militias, says member of House of Representatives in Philippines (Philippines)

  • says Philippine Govt.'s "desire to appease transnational corporations operating in Libya"  endangers workers' lives

Egypt: President Sisi launches new Suez Canal Project

Mada Masr (Egypt)

  • media reports that winning consortium will be led by Dar al-Handassa (Armed Forces Engineering Authority is a local partner) and Dutch consulting company Royal Haskoning DHV
  • wider development projects in the Suez Canal will be contracted to foreign, Arab as well as Egyptian investors
  • مشروع محور قناة السويس يطرح تساؤلات منها التمويل، والإطار القانوني الناظم، والدور الإقتصادي للجيش
Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • launch of report on Petroleum Revenue Management in Ghana (Washington DC, 7 Aug)
  • online courses: "Socially Responsible and Sustainable Business" (1 Sep)
  • conference on ecological sustainability and social equity (Leipzig, 2 Sep)
  • conference on corporations, global food system and human rights (Oslo, Norway, 11-12 Sep)
  • workshop: practical guide to business and human rights (London, 17 Sep)
  • conference on corporate social responsibility and the legal profession (London,18-19 Sep)
  • course on implementation of UNGPs by businesses (Frankfurt, 23 Sep)
  • IPCC Fifth Assessment Report business engagement workshop (Washington DC, 25 Sep)
  • training course on stakeholder engagement (Frankfurt, 25 Sep)
  • course on preventing community conflict (Barcelona, Spain, 1 Oct)
  • International Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion and Tax Justice (Barcelona, 2-3 Oct)
  • conference on the global trade in services (Geneva, 17 Oct)
Details of these and future events can be found here
Please send relevant event information to Sam Whannel:
We are a recruiting a Middle East & North Africa Researcher (deadline 31 Aug) and a Corporate Accountability and Communications Officer (deadline 28 Aug)

Current vacancies:
Corte Federal de Suiza rechaza demanda contra Nestlé por presunta negligencia en el asesinato del sindicalista y trabajador colombiano, Luciano Romero


  • Centro Europeo para los Derechos Constitucionales y Humanos (ECCHR) critica severamente la decisión
Américas: Informe de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre pueblos indígenas en aislamiento voluntario y contacto inicial destaca riesgos de derechos humanos derivados de la explotación de recursos naturales

Guatemala: Video de la defensora de derechos humanos Aura Lolita Chávez sobre ataques sufridos por su trabajo “en defensa de la vida y el territorio y contra mega-proyectos”

Front Line Defenders

Guatemala: Corte de Apelaciones falla a favor de derechos indígenas en caso que involucra a la empresa Entre Mares

Consejo del Pueblo Maya

Abogado de demandantes colombianos en caso contra Chiquita critica la decisión de falta de jurisdicción de la Corte de EE.UU.

Intl. Rights Advocates

Venezuela: Nestlé inaugurará 4 salas de lactancia materna en sus fábricas y realizará una campaña informativa para su promoción

El Universal (Venezuela)

Un tribunal suisse rejette le recours contre Nestlé accusé d’être co-responsable par négligence du meurtre d’un ancien employé en Colombie

ats (Agence télégraphique suisse)

Qatar : Le Guardian révèle les conditions « déplorables » des migrants travaillant sur les chantiers de la Coupe du Monde


Allemagne : La société civile contre la proposition du gouvernement de créer un label "textile équitable" volontaire et non-contraignant

Novethic (France)

Carrefour et Cargill bannissent l’huile de palme contribuant à la déforestation et au changement climatique dans leur chaîne d’approvisionnement


Chine : L’explosion d’une usine et les « défaillances de sécurité » posent la question de la responsabilité des entreprises donneuses d’ordre, selon une ONG

Novethic (France)

Areva nomme un Nigérien à la tête de sa filiale, la Somaïr, conformément à la nouvelle convention signée avec le Niger


Cameroun : La société civile accuse le Comité ITIE-Cameroun de bloquer la mise en oeuvre effective du processus (Belgique)

Cameroun : Les entreprises CWE et EDC améliorent les conditions de travail de leurs employés grâce à la médiation et au dialogue (Belgique)

Rép dém du Congo : La société civile s'inquiète de la disparité entre les chiffres présentés dans le rapport ITIE de 2011

Le Potentiel (Rép. dém. du Congo)

La société civile africaine plaide pour des investissements qui respectent les droits de l'homme lors du Sommet Etats-Unis-Afrique

Comité de Pilotage Afrique PCQVP; Medianiger (Niger)

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