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Weekly Update - 8 March 2017

Lead Story
Honduras: 1 year since murder of Berta Cáceres - continuing threats faced by human rights defenders

Al Jazeera; BHRRC; CNN; Global Witness; NACLA; Upsidedown World


(Credit: JusticiaparaBerta)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Tune in for the launch of the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark results - live streamed (13 Mar)
  • 98 companies in the agriculture, apparel & extractive sectors ranked on human rights performance
We're hiring a Deputy Director, North America (based in New York, or possibly Washington DC, deadline 14 Mar)
Intl. Women's Day 2017: Recent incidents of disproportionate impacts on women by business & reports of progress

UN Women, Guardian (UK), Politico (Belgium), India Committee of the Netherlands, Intl. Land Coalition, Gleaner (Jamaica), Intl. Organisation of Employers

  • harms highlighted in agribusiness in Latin America, apparel factories in India, US engineering sector
  • Intl. Organisation of Employers calls for "female-only speaker day" at UN Forum on Business & Human Rights
Intl. Olympic Committee adds human rights requirements to host city contracts citing UN Guiding Principles

Intl. Olympic Committee; Human Rights Watch

  • move follows engagement with Sport & Rights Alliance civil society group
The future of energy: As business commitments to renewable energy increase, so must the sector's respect for human rights

Times (UK)

John Ruggie clarifies key terms of UN Guiding Principles including "cause", "contribute" & "directly linked"

John Ruggie, Harvard Univ., former UN Special Representative on business & human rights

Revelation of Shell's 1991 film "Climate of Concern" prompts criticisms about company's steps to block climate action despite knowledge of its consequences

Guardian (UK); Greenpeace Southeast Asia

  • we invited Shell to respond - response provided
Commentary: "How corporations, activists, and politicians turned the language of human rights into meaningless babble"

Michael Hobbes, Foreign Policy

US-based Connell Co. accused of supplying equipment to mining companies in Sub-Saharan Africa including co. accused of using forced labour in Eritrea
  • we invited Connell Co. to respond - response provided
  • company receives financing from US govt. agency; loans are not subject to environmental & social due diligence
Tanzania: UN Women identifies barriers faced by women in extractive sector, including sexual harassment & discrimination

So. Africa: NGOs take minister & Exxaro to court over proposed coal-fired plant; judgement reserved in country's first climate change case


Mozambique: Civil society protests against Japan Intl. Cooperation Agency (JICA) for lack of transparency & alleged abuses in ProSavana agribusiness programme
USA: Lawsuit against private prison firm GEO Group over forced labour in immigrant detention facility accepted as class action

Daily Beast (USA)

USA: Ex-Sterling Jewelers employees allege sexual harassment & gender discrimination; arbitration judge to hear class action involving 69,000 women

Washington Post

USA: Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable releases assessment of Natl. Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct
  • finds plan provides good overview of existing federal policies & expectations, but lacks bold new actions & fails to address concerns by civil society
Mexico: Communities allege lack of consultation, negative impacts on livelihoods & intimidation by Elecnor energy company building wind farm
  • we invited the company to respond - it did not
Asia & Pacific
Indonesia: Freeport-McMoRan abruptly suspends operations in West Papua over contract dispute with govt.; hundreds of workers laid off

Voice of America

Vietnam fish kill linked to Formosa Plastics: Govt. says it will punish 11 senior officials for misconduct over disaster; police stop hundreds of protesters from raising compensation claims

Channel News Asia; Reuters

Thailand: Natl. Human Rights Commissioner examines Thai companies’ cross-border operations in Myanmar for human rights abuses

Myanmar Times

Europe & Central Asia
Ireland's tax laws let companies avoid taxes in poor countries, render achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals “impossible”, says Oxfam

Oxfam Ireland

EU Commission says human rights enforcement through intl. court would be "extremely complicated" to include in trade agreements; further discussions to follow

Intellectual Property Watch

UK: Workers call on Tesco to rethink relationship with supplier 2 Sisters Food Group for alleged breach of workers' rights

Express & Star

Middle East & North Africa
Six engineering & construction companies form new coalition to protect workers' rights in construction industry

David Segall (NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights in Fair Observer), BSR

  • companies are: Amec Foster Wheeler, Bechtel Corporation, CH2M Hill, Fluor Co., Multiplex, Vinci
Syria: LafargeHolcim admits to paying armed groups to maintain cement plant in operation


Qatar: Uber drivers on strike over reduced earnings, company issues statement

Doha News (Qatar);  Al Arabiya English; Reuters; New India Times

Company responses Non-responses 
Call for Papers: Business & Human Rights Scholars Conference 2017 (due: 15 March)
Forthcoming events:
  • webinar: Supply Chain Solutions to China's Left-Behind Children Problem (9 Mar, online)
  • Corporate Human Rights Benchmark launch (13 Mar, London)
  • conference: how to empower farmers and deliver business solutions at scale (14 Mar, London)
  • workshop: Human Rights Risk & Reporting (16 Mar, Stockholm)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Deputy Director, North America at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (based in New York or possibly Washington DC, deadline 14 Mar)

Other current vacancies:
  • Center for Business & Human Rights at Stern School of Business, New York Univ. (Deputy Director)
  • Coalition for Human Rights in Development (Program & Communication Associate)
  • Fair Food Standards Council (2 posts: Director of Complaint Resolution; Financial Analyst)
  • Intl. Code of Conduct Association (Executive Director)
  • Social Accountability International (Director of Finance & Administration/Operations)
Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  To submit a new job announcement in business & human rights please go here.
We take no position on views by commentators, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
Copyright © 2017 Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, All rights reserved.

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