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Weekly Update - 22 April 2015

Lead Story
New briefing: "Development for all, or a privileged few? Business & human rights in Southeast Asia"

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • World Economic Forum on East Asia held in Jakarta 19-21 Apr, with theme "Anchoring Trust in Asia's New Regionalism"
  • 1400 gather for ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum, 21-24 Apr, Kuala Lumpur

Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Intl. Trade Union Confed. concerned by forthcoming "Getting down to business" report by UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association & Assembly
  • includes concern that corporations are being treated as holders of human rights 
  • response by Special Rapporteur provided
Goldman Environmental Prize 2015 announced 

Goldman Environmental Foundation; BBC; Guardian (UK); Global Witness; San Francisco Chronicle 

  • winners include activists fighting damaging mines, dams, smelters in Burma, Canada, Honduras, Kenya
  • new Global Witness report shows killings of environmental defenders increasing
"Key issues in the debate on a binding business and human rights instrument"

Business & Human Rights in Ireland blog

New project launched: "Tainted Lands: Land, Corruption, and Human Rights"

Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Oxfam America, Global Witness

New Corporate Legal Accountability Quarterly Bulletin

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Angola: Trial of journalist Rafael Marques to resume over book on abuses in diamond mining

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Front Line Defenders, Intl. Service for Human Rights, Open Society Institute for Southern Africa; Guardian (UK)

  • Tiffany, Leber Jeweler urge govt. to drop charges
Tanzania: Acacia Mining sends assistance to rescue operation after artisanal mine collapses killing at least 19


Drummond sues NGO & others in US court over their legal claims the firm collaborated with paramilitaries in killings & other abuses in Colombia

Colombia Reports

Brazil: Indigenous peoples protest over proposed constitutional reform that would benefit business & harm their rights

Survival Intl.

US Dept. of Labour charge Lear Corp., supplier to Hyundai, over allegations it threatened & harassed workers speaking out over health & safety

Selma Workers Organizing Committee; Associated Press

  • Lear Corp. denies allegations
BP Deepwater Horizon explosion & oil spill - 5 years on

NPR;  Virginian-Pilot; USA Today;  Lafayette Daily Advertiser 

  • communities still waiting for recovery funds from BP amid legal delays 
  • long-term environmental impacts on Gulf of Mexico still uncertain
  • improvements in oil rig safety noted
Asia & Pacific
Rana Plaza 2 years on: One-third of firms that campaigners claim were linked to the complex have yet to compensate victims

Independent (UK); Guardian (UK); Clean Clothes Campaign; Institute for Human Rights and Business

Taiwan: Former RCA employees win decade-long lawsuit over "worst ever work-related health incident" in the country


Report reveals poverty wages behind Asian shrimp sold in European supermarkets

Fairfood Intl.

  • we invited the supermarkets named in the report to respond; responses by Jumbo, Plus, Superunie provided
  • Lidl said it did not have any further information to add than what it provided to Fairfood Intl.
  • we will indicate in a future Update whether Aldi responds
Myanmar: Child labour continues, with long hours & meager wages - Al Jazeera documentary
  • refers to apparel, food & beverage companies, restaurants 
Indonesia: Oil palm plantations expand in West Papua, bringing some development but costing many indigenous peoples their land & livelihoods

Center for Intl. Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Europe & Central Asia
Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice launches initiative seeking mandatory human rights due diligence requirements for all Swiss companies

Investigation reveals migrants in Spain work under "semi-slavery" conditions supplying produce to UK supermarkets

Ecologist Film Unit; Channel 4

  • comments from British Retail Consortium, Sainsbury's & Waitrose included; Spanish supplier Agroherni denies allegations
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative downgrades Azerbaijan to “candidate” country over govt.’s crackdown on civil society

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Middle East & North Africa
Formula One commits to human rights due diligence in Bahrain following NGO complaint to UK OECD Natl. Contact Point

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain; Guardian (UK)

Human Rights Watch report alleges Israeli settlers profiting from Palestinian child labour 
Company responses
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Invitation for input on draft UN General Comment on just & favourable conditions of work (written submission deadline 4 May)
Forthcoming events:
  • building a community of practice between business & Indigenous Peoples (New York, 23 Apr)
  • "Business & Human Rights: Trends, Challenges & the Road Ahead" (Washington DC, 23-24 Apr)
  • company-community mediation training in complex environments (Cape Town, application deadline 24 Apr; course 19-25 Jul)
  • forum for Indigenous Peoples facing corporate development (New York, 25 Apr)
  • Baku 2015: "Give human rights a sporting chance in Azerbaijan" (London, 28 Apr)
  • "Working for Less: Gender Inequality in the Workplace" (New York, 28 Apr)
  • conference on the future of tax policy (Brussels, 29 Apr)
  • implementing the UN Guiding Principles in complex contexts (Geneva, 29-30 Apr)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
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