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Weekly Update - 6 July 2016

Lead Story
US Department of State publishes 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report

Reuters; CNN

  • Myanmar, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan among downgraded countries due to concerns about trafficking & forced labour
  • Thailand upgraded citing efforts to tackle forced labour in seafood sector; human rights organizations criticise decision

(photo credit: Google images)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
New case profile: DJ Houghton first UK company to be held liable for modern slavery in landmark civil ruling lawsuit re trafficked Lithuanian migrants

Updated resources & guidance for companies on migrant workers in the Gulf construction sector

Guest blog: "Corporate human rights abuses & access to justice in Germany – why so little tort litigation?"

Philipp Wesche, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

New vacancy: Middle East Research & Outreach Assistant (deadline 15 Jul)
Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – Accountability and Remedy project update:
  • UN Human Rights Council passes resolution on improving accountability & access to remedy in business & human rights
  • OHCHR paper provides examples for guidance to improve corporate accountability & access to judicial remedy
  • blog: "How can States improve their implementation of the “Access to Remedy” pillar of the UN Guiding Principles"
Cambodian victims of trafficking file lawsuit against seafood importers in California


NGOs urge Kimberley Process on conflict diamonds to respect civil society's role; demand improved governance

14 African & intl. NGOs including Enough Project; Human Rights Watch

UN Global Compact Leaders Summit recognises 10 pioneers working toward Sustainable Development Goals

Lise Kingo, Executive Director of UN Global Compact, on Huffington Post

  • includes business representatives from Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, India, Tanzania, USA
Latest reports on Business & Climate Justice:
  • Oxfam report: "Feeding Climate Change - What the Paris Agreement means for food and beverage companies"
  • CDP report finds businesses could cut 10 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide if govts. encouraged them to sign up to 5 initiatives
Tanzania: Newly-discovered helium could ignite conflict if locals are evicted to pave way for exploitation, says analyst

Associated Press; OilPrice

Kenya: World Bank urged to apply its indigenous peoples policy consistently to protect communities impacted by development projects 

Jackson Shaa (Narasha Community Development Group) & Annabel Perreras (Intl. Accountability Project), in Bretton Woods Project

Zambia Alternative Mining Indaba: NGOs urge reintroduction of mechanism to retain 10% of taxes in host areas; estimate country loses USD 3 billion/year to illicit financial flows

Coastweek Newspapers; Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail

US Securities & Exchange Commission releases final rule requiring oil, gas, mining companies to disclose payments to govts.  - NGOs hail the move

EarthRights Intl.; Chair of US Securities and Exchange Commission; Publish What You Pay US; Global Witness

Honduras: Civil society criticises “false choice between rights & development" suggested by World Bank president's speech

Bretton Woods Project

Asia & Pacific
Vietnam: Oxfam finds Unilever has made progress in implementing its labour policies on the ground, but significant challenges remain

Oxfam; Fiona Briggs in Ethical Sourcing, Sustainability Time

China: NGO investigation finds excessive working hours & occupational safety violations at Dongguan Chenming Electronic factory

China Labor Watch

  • we invited Dongguan Chengming Electronic Co. to respond - original response in Chinese & unofficial summary translation provided
Cambodia: NGOs criticise Bonsucro responsible sugar association's inclusion of Mitr Phol, despite land grab allegations

David Pred, Inclusive Development Intl. and Eang Vuthy, Equitable Cambodia, in Reuters

  • we invited Bonsucro to respond - response provided
  • recent Mitr Phol response also provided
China: Protest involving more than 10,000 against incinerator plant in Lubu, Guangdong turns violent as residents clash with police

South China Morning Post; BBC

Bangladesh: Swedwatch report highlights serious human rights risk in British American Tobacco's supply chain; company denies allegations

Sri Lanka: Precarious work conditions in fireworks factories reported, with 4-5 deaths per year in local production in “fireworks village” of Kimbulapitiya


Europe & Central Asia

Brexit: Potential impacts on business & human rights

Serbia: So. Korean Yura Corp.'s factory workers allege abuses including beatings, sexual harassment, non-payment of wages & denial of freedom of association

Balkan Insight (BIRN); Balkan Independent News Agency

  • we invited Yura to respond - it did not
Luxembourg: Tribunal finds Luxleaks whistleblower guilty of theft & violation of professional secrecy laws; whistleblower to appeal ruling

Guardian (UK)

Middle East & North Africa
Qatar: Prosecutor appeals exoneration of defendants in lawsuit over Villaggio Mall fatal fire

Arabian Business 

  • Resource Centre's full profile of case also included
Company responses Non-responses
IFC seeking input on how to better protect those who complain about its projects - consultation open until 15 July

Reminder: UN Forum on Business & Human Rights parallel event proposals due 31 July
Forthcoming events:
  • forum on mediating company-community conflicts (12-19 Jul, Caux)
  • human rights approach to combating economic inequality & discrimination (12 Jul, New York)
  • ICAR Speaker Series: Bennett Freeman (14 Jul, Washington DC)
  • webinar on consumers, global supply chains & human rights (14 Jul, online)
  • UK Modern Slavery Act events & workshops for businesses (15 Jul, Manchester)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (Middle East Research & Outreach Assistant)

Other current vacancies:
  • Access Now (Middle East & North Africa Policy Analyst)
  • BSR (Associate Director, Sustainability Management)
  • Ethical Trading Initiative (Country Programme Consultant, Turkey)
  • European Coalition for Corporate Justice (Policy Internship)
  • WITNESS (Finance Associate)
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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