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Weekly Update - 10 September 2014

Lead Story 
UK: Traidcraft launches campaign calling on political parties to hold British companies accountable for human rights abuses abroad

Guardian (UK); Traidcraft

  • full details of campaign: "Stand up for Justice"
  • poll finds more than half of MPs support holding British companies accountable in UK for abuses abroad

Board with photos of missing people, posted by relatives after the 2013 Savar building collapse.
Photo credit: Sharat Chowdhury
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Walk-Free Foundation publishes guide for companies to tackle slavery in supply chains

John Ruggie offers advice to business & human rights treaty sponsors
  • says key challenges for sponsors are "weak political mandate, the proposed treaty’s unworkable scope and scale", and sponsors’ & many supporters’ records with regard to UN Guiding Principles
Call for signatories to joint statement on protecting human rights defenders working on corporate accountability (deadline 9 Dec)

Peoples' Forum on Human Rights and Business

Michael Addo, Chair of UN Working Group, discusses role of body in enhancing access to remedy 
  • transcript of discussion at access to justice event - London, 17 Jul 2014
Intel & BlackBerry reflect on efforts to make their supply chains conflict-free 

CoExist (USA); Business in the Community blog

Interview with Chris Jochnick on Oxfam's campaign to improve food companies' transparency & human rights practices


World Water Week 2014 - media coverage of events & details of company initiatives
  • Stockholm, 31 Aug-6 Sep
  • refers to initiatives by H&M, UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate & others
UNICEF & Intl. Telecommunication Union release guidelines for information & communications technology sector on protecting children online

New on our page for UN Working Group's consultation on national action plans on business & human rights - submissions by:
  • Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) & Singapore Management Univ.
  • European Coalition for Corporate Justice
UN expert says vulture fund litigation prevents indebted poor countries from using resources for their own development

UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky

"On the Horizon: A practical bulletin on what is ahead in the field of business & human rights"

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Eritrea: Human Rights Concern alleges use of forced labour at mine owned by Colluli Share Mining (joint venture South Boulder Mines, Eritrean National Mining Company)
  • we invited South Boulder Mines to respond on behalf of joint venture; response provided
Africa Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (16-18 Sep, Addis Ababa)
  • information on agenda, side events & submissions 
US appeals court allows Alien Tort case against Nestlé, Cargill & ADM re child slavery in Côte d'Ivoire to proceed

Courthouse News Service (USA) 

  • with link to full text of decision
Kenya: Coca-Cola partners with Nairobi Water Fund in project with Nature Conservancy to protect water source for millions

Business Daily (Kenya)

Uganda: Speaker of Parliament decries country's delay in joining Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Observer (Uganda)

Ghana mineral revenue management law should ensure accountability, transparency & equitable distribution of resources, say participants at consultative forum

Vibe Ghana

Ethiopia: H&M partners with Swedfund to promote responsible textile industry & "lift people out of poverty"

EPR Retail News

US court finds BP grossly negligent, guilty of "willful misconduct" in 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill

Petrol Global News

Brazil: NGOs issue reports raising concerns about human rights impacts of Brazilian Development Bank's (BNDES) project loans

Conectas; AIDA

  • reports only available in Portuguese
  • we invited BNDES to respond; responses provided in English, Portuguese
  • Brasil: Relatórios de ONGs questionam modo de financiamento do BNDES a empresas com relação a direitos humanos; BNDES respondeu
US Dept. of Commerce publishes list of smelters processing potential conflict minerals as required by Dodd Frank Act

Wall Street Journal blog; US Dept. of Commerce

  • list includes all known facilities that process tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold
  • but Dept. says it “does not have the ability to distinguish” which are being used to fund militia groups in Dem. Rep. of Congo
Peru: Four anti-logging indigenous activists killed on way to meeting discussing how to stop illegal logging

BBC Latin America

USA: Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable issues report on respecting human rights in govt. purchasing

Haiti: Report analyses role of private sector in humanitarian action with focus on 2010 earthquake

Overseas Development Institute 

Asia & Pacific
Malaysia: SAVE Rivers report on Baram Dam alleges abuses of indigenous peoples' rights by Sarawak Energy &  Govt.

SAVE Rivers; Intl. Rivers; Bruno Manser Fund

  • we invited Sarawak Energy to respond; response provided
Report reviews major initiatives to improve labour conditions in Bangladesh manufacturing industries

Hague Institute for Global Justice & Social Justice Expertise Center

Sector-wide impact assessment launched to support responsible business practices in Myanmar’s oil & gas sector

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, with its co-founders Institute for Human Rights and Business & Danish Institute for Human Rights

Malaysia grants full licence to rare earths mining company Lynas despite protests against its alleged health & environmental impacts

Asian Correspondent

Thailand: Dole Foods responds to appeals to use its influence on Thai pineapple industry to urge Natural Fruit to drop defamation cases vs researcher Andy Hall  

Fresh Fruit Portal

  • Dole Foods distances itself from Thai Pineapple Industry Association - says it is not a member of TPIA & "does not have any business dealings with Natural Fruit”
Taiwan: Chang Guann's cooking oil allegedly blended with "gutter oil", found to contain excessive carcinogens

South China Morning Post; AFP

  • includes company comments
  • also available in Chinese
Europe & Central Asia
NGO calls on Atlético de Madrid to reconsider its sponsorship agreement with Azerbaijan over human rights abuses in the country

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

  • we invited Atlético de Madrid to respond, but it did not
CORE urges UK Govt. to hold companies accountable for abuses abroad including involvement in forced labour, land grabs & conflict minerals

Irish Govt. expresses concerns after US court orders Microsoft to hand over emails on Irish servers

Irish Independent

UN Working Group calls on Azerbaijan to make state oil firm SOCAR accountable to Parliament to increase accountability & avoid human rights abuses

Malta Today

Ukraine: 1 dead, 1 injured after explosion at coal mine


  • only available in Russian: Украина: 1 шахтер погиб, еще 1 в тяжелом состоянии в результате взрыва на шахте "Холодная балка ГП "Макеевуголь"
Armenia: Nairit rubber plant employees protest over unpaid wages

Hetq online

Middle East & North Africa
2 British labour rights investigators freed after being detained by Qatar authorities

Guardian (UK), Independent (UK); Walk Free; Bloomberg (Germany); Intl. Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child questions Morocco about impact of privatisation of schools on right to education

Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Company responses Non-responses
Join us on 31 Oct in New York for 5th annual event in the Mary Robinson Speaker Series on Business & Human Rights:
  • "Managing Congo’s resource wealth – from plunder to shared prosperity?”
  • Keynote speaker: Emmanuel Nkumba, Executive Director of AFREWATCH
Reminder: Internship opportunity in our New York City office (deadline Friday 12 Sep)
Forthcoming events
  • online discussion: forced and child labour in supply chains (1-12 Sep)
  • corporations, global food system and human rights (Oslo, 11-12 Sep)
  • human trafficking, human rights and business - webinar (16 Sep)
  • "African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights" (Addis Ababa, 16 Sep)
  • workshop: practical guide to business and human rights (London, 17 Sep)
  • conference on CSR & the legal profession (London,18-19 Sep)
  • course on business implementation of UN Guiding Principles (Frankfurt, 23 Sep)
  • gender equality, human rights and business - webinar (24 Sep)
  • business engagement workshop on IPCC 5th Assessment Report (Washington, 25 Sep) 
  • training course on stakeholder engagement (Frankfurt, 25 Sep)
  • "Inaugural Business for Peace Annual Event" (Istanbul, 29-30 Sep)
  • "14th Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative Workshop" (San Francisco, 29-30 Sep)
  • international arbitration tribunal on business and human rights (London, 29 Sep)
  • conference on preventing corporate/community conflict (Barcelona, 1-3 Oct)
  • "Responsible Electronics 2014" (Burlingame, 1-2 Oct)
  • conference on tax avoidance & tax justice (Barcelona, 2 Oct)
  • CSR compliance workshop (Copenhagen, 3 Oct)
  • course on business, conflict and peace (Basel, 6-10 Oct)
  • industry, civil society and sustainable mineral production (Copenhagen, 8 Oct)
Details of these and other future events can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Sam Whannel:
Current vacancies Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Sam Whannel:
Colombia: Organizaciones de la sociedad civil realizan "Tribunal de Opinión" sobre impactos en la salud y el ambiente de la minería de carbón de Cerrejón

Héctor Alfonso Torres; La (Venezuela)

  • Nosotros invitamos a Cerrejón a responder; la respuesta está disponible
Lanzan campaña internacional de solidaridad por la demanda de Pacific Rim (ahora OceanaGold) contra El Salvador ante el Banco Mundial

Aliados Internacionales contra la Minería en El Salvador

  • La empresa demandó al Estado por haber implementado una moratoria a la minería tras preocupaciones ambientales y de daños a la salud
Entrevista radial a Amanda Romero, investigadora del CIEDH, sobre derechos humanos y empresas

Observatorio Ciudadano (Chile)

ONG le pide al Atlético de Madrid reconsiderar el patrocinio que recibe de Azerbaiyán dados los abusos de derechos humanos en ese país

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

  • Nosotros invitamos al Atlético de Madrid a contestar, pero la empresa no lo hizo
México: Autoridades indican que ninguna empresa de Puebla se ha certificado como “libre de trabajo infantil” en la agricultura

Periódico Digital (México)

Colombia: Organizaciones sociales dicen que batallones militares defienden a las empresas multinacionales en medio de violaciones de derechos humanos

Colombia Informa

Colombia: Para promover un ambiente favorable al proceso de paz con la insurgencia, más de 120 empresas privadas participan en campaña “Soy Capaz”

Asociación Nacional de Industriales, ANDI (Colombia); (Colombia)

Perú: Cuatro indígenas que se oponían a madereros ilegales fueron asesinados

El Comercio (Perú)

Guatemala: En medio de peor sequía en años, manifestantes protestan contra ley de obtenciones vegetales, conocida como “Ley Monsanto”, por posibles daños al derecho a la alimentación

Prensa, Servindi

Reflexiones del académico Aldo Caliari sobre la propuesta para un tratado vinculante de empresas y derechos humanos

El Mercurio (España)

Latinoamérica: Vídeo explica qué es el “neo-extractivismo”

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Latinoamérica

Une cour d’appel américaine autorise le recours contre ADM, Cargill et Nestlé pour travail forcé présumé en Côte d’Ivoire à procéder

Intellivoire (Côte d'Ivoire)

  • Résumé de l'action en justice également disponible
Rép. dém. du Congo : Global Witness demande à Soco de se retirer définitivement du parc des Virunga

AFP avec Jeune Afrique

  • L'article comprend également une déclaration de l'entreprise
La Confédération générale des entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire sensibilise le secteur privé sur les risques liés au virus Ebola (Côte d'Ivoire)

Les dirigeants de grandes entreprises opérant en Afrique lancent un appel à l'aide pour les pays africains touchés par l'épidémie d'Ebola

Randgold et d'autres entreprises

Ikea et l’Onu lancent un abri en kit pour améliorer les conditions de logement des réfugiés

Youphil (France)

Une ONG demande la création d’une autorité suisse de surveillance des marchés des matières premières pour obliger les entreprises à contrôler leur origine


Un juge américain déclare BP coupable de « faute grave » pour la marée noire dans le Golfe du Mexique

La Voix de l'Amérique

  • BP se déclare « fortement en désaccord » avec le jugement et a l'intention de faire appel
  • Halliburton règle à l'amiable un recours collectif pour 1,1 milliard de dollars
Mali : La Chambre des mines plaide pour une réglementation efficace de l'orpaillage

Maliweb (Mali)

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