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Weekly Update - 7 December 2016

Lead Story
Report: "Wall of Silence: The construction sector's response to migrant rights in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates"

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • 100 companies contacted - report highlights shocking lack of transparency and action overall; shares examples of good practice in areas such as recruitment, subcontractor accountability

(Photo credit: Richard Messenger)
  • searchable online database in English and Arabic
  • media coverage 
  • following the 5 Dec report launch, Bam International and OHL submitted survey responses; Vinci/QDVC updated answer on worker participation; United Engineering Construction (UNEC) sent information on Taqdeer Award; Al Jaber Group is preparing a response
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Guest blog: Will European companies be held accountable for their involvement in the Syrian war?

Miriam Saage-Maaß & Patrick Kroker, European Center for Constitutional & Human Rights

Australia Institute urges Norges Bank to divest from Ferrovial & offshore centres over alleged arbitrary detention & abuse of asylum seekers & refugees

Australia Institute; Responsible Investor

  • we invited Broadspectrum (centre operator), Ferrovial & Norges Bank to respond - responses provided
  • Norges Bank has referred its investment in Ferrovial to the Council on Ethics; Ferrovial will not be renewing its investment in the centres after Oct 2017
Japanese companies at risk of being complicit with illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine

Palestine Forum Japan; Osaka Chamber of Commerce

  • we invited C.T. Machinery, Murata Manufacturing, Nitto, Panasonic & Ricoh to respond - Ricoh provided a response; C.T. Machinery, Murata Manufacturing and Nitto did not
  • Panasonic confirmed it had participated in a mission to Israel by Osaka Chamber of Commerce, but declined to comment further
NGOs ask US overseas private investment agency (OPIC) to ensure environmental & social policy respects rights of communities affected by large-scale projects

Accountability Counsel & 17 partner orgs.

Further to our previous update: Intl. union rejoinder to PepsiCo describes specific actions needed to address labour rights issues in supply chain in India, Guatemala, Pakistan

Intl. Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco & Allied Workers’ Associations

  • we invited PepsiCo to respond - PepsiCo has indicated that they will respond - we will include the response in a future update
Further to our previous update: Lukoil responds to petition before Philippines Human Rights Commission on human rights & climate impacts
Kenya & Tanzania: Two reports cite inadequate consultation, compensation & tenure security of communities affected by extractives projects

Institute for Human Rights and Business

West African countries to reduce sulphur limits for imported fuel following "Dirty Diesel" report highlighting health impacts

Public Eye

Zimbabwe: Villagers take ZCDC to court over forced evictions; NGOs say mining company & govt. must respect human rights

Kumakomo Community Radio Station; Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association & 8 partner NGOs; Maunga Maanda & Associates; 263 Chat

Brazil: 6 Guajajara Indians murdered for defending their traditional lands from illegal logging

Survival Intl.

  • the defenders were also attempting to save their uncontacted Awá neighbors from extinction; bodies were brutally dismembered
US judge orders lawsuit against Chiquita for allegedly funding Colombian paramilitaries to proceed

Intl. Rights Advocates; Telesur; EarthRights Intl.; Wisconsin Gazette

  • the court rules that due to serious security risks for victims in Colombia the case should be litigated in the US
  • see also: summary profile of lawsuit
JUST Capital and Forbes launch "Just 100" List of US firms
  • companies ranked on issues such as fair pay, non-discrimination, worker treatment, supply chain impact and US job-creation
Asia & Pacific
Malaysia: Guardian investigates exploitation of migrant workers in McDonald's
  • workers claim they were underpaid, lived in poor conditions & passports were confiscated
  • McDonald's has dropped a labour supply agency in Malaysia since allegations emerged
  • we invited Human Connection HR to respond - it did not, but it intends to hold a meeting on the issue & respond soon
Cambodia: Preah Vihear villagers claim Hengfu Sugar subsidiaries took their lands without adequate compensation

Phnom Penh Post; Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation; Environmental Justice Atlas

  • we invited Hengfu Sugar to respond to the allegations - it did not
Myanmar: Interviews with garment factory workers reveals labour conditions do not yet meet internationally recognised standards

Progressive Voice

Cambodia: Report finds widespread use of modern slavery, debt bondage & child labour in brick manufacturing industry


State-owned enterprises in China could be an entry point for human rights

Qian Cheng, in Open Global Rights

India: 32 years on, survivors & victims of Bhopal gas tragedy continue to await justice & fair compensation

compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Europe & Central Asia
EU: Conflict Minerals Regulation agreement reached - civil society responds with mixed reactions

Global Witness; European Commission; Reuters

France: MPs in lower house adopt draft law on human rights due diligence for parent companies

European Coalition for Corporate Justice

UK: Major hotel groups launch industry network to combat modern slavery

eHotelier editor; Reuters

Middle East & North Africa
Jordan: Report reveals challenges for refugees living outside camps in obtaining official documents such as identity cards, work permits

Intl. Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School; Norwegian Refugee Council Jordan

G4S sells Israeli security arm accused of complicity in human rights abuses of Palestinian prisoners

G4S; Evening Standard; Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

Company responses Non-responses
UK Govt. calls for input from businesses, investors & workers on strengthening corporate governance (due 17 Feb 2017)
Forthcoming events:
  • roundtable: Intl. Finance Corp.'s investment in Assam tea plantations (12 Dec, Washington DC)
  • breakfast briefing on transparency - pros, cons, impacts, issues (15 Dec, London)
  • course on human rights & Asia, inc. business & human rights (9-20 Jan, Seoul)
  • online course on decent work in global supply chains (starts 12 Jan, online)
  • two-day course for lawyers on privacy rights (23-24 Jan, apply by 20 Dec, London)
  • 'Land Rights, Risk, and Conflict in Africa' (9 Feb, Dakar)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Current vacancies:
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies (Research Fellow, Human Rights Initiative)
  • City of San Diego (Minimum Wage Program Coordinator)
  • Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (2 posts: Legal & Policy Associate; Legal & Policy Fellow)
  • PODER (Program Director – Strategic Engagement, Advocacy Campaigns & Public Relations)
  • Urgent Action Fund-Africa (2 posts; Communications & Knowledge Management Programme Officer; Partnerships & Development Manager)
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:
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