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Weekly Update - 24 February 2016

Lead Story
Sierra Leone: NGOs denounce imprisonment of community leaders opposing Socfin plantations

AEFJN, AFASPA, Confédération Paysanne, FIDH, Intenational Alliance of Local Communities, GRAIN, Oakland Institute, Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, Peuples Solidaires, ReAct, Sherpa & Survie

  • 6 community members accused of destroying 40 palm oil plants; they deny the allegations
  • we invited Socfin and Bolloré (which owns 39% of Socfin shares) to respond; responses provided
  • information also provided on Bolloré's lawsuit against French journalists for defamation over articles on land grabs in Africa & Asia
(photo credit: Oakland Institute)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
"Uganda election: renewable energy projects must not rob locals of their land"

Joseph Kibugu, Eastern Africa Researcher & Representative, in The Guardian (UK)

Accountability is needed before transparency in the extractive industries resonates with communities in Latin America

Amanda Romero, Julia Mello Neiva & Karen Hudlet, Latin America Team 

Investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) Consultation on Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: closes Friday
Summary of key issues in binding treaty debate

Companies' social development initiatives cannot substitute for actions to address negative human rights impacts, says John Ruggie

John G. Ruggie, Harvard Univ. & former UN Special Representative on business & human rights, in letter to Global Commission on Business and Sustainable Development

Signet adopts policy promoting transparency in diamond supply chain

Plain Dealer


Report: "Safer labour migration and community-based prevention of exploitation"

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Freedom Fund

Greek seafarer goes missing onboard EFShipping vessel; family files negligence lawsuit against company in US

Human Rights at Sea; SE Texas Record

  • we invited the company to respond; response provided
Tanzania: Locals near Acacia Mining subsidiary allege toxic water discharges causing human & livestock deaths

The Citizen (Tanzania)

  • we invited Acacia Mining to respond; response provided
Kenya: Naramat Academy reportedly refused to admit boy due to HIV status; school denies allegations


So. Africa: Lily Mine collapse traps 3 workers underground, rescue faces delays


Brazil: Continued residential evictions for Olympic Park construction

Rio on Watch

Mexico: Local communities allege wind farms “not so clean”, limit access to water & land

Upside Down World

Venezuela: Illegal miners attack indigenous tribe in Amazon area

Survival Intl.

Asia & Pacific
Report alleges H&M and M&S pay workers in South Asia less than living wage

The Guardian (UK); Labour Behind the Label

  • we invited H&M and M&S to respond; responses provided
“Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Business in Myanmar” – a briefing paper 

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business

India: Gender gap in workplace prevails; some firms taking steps to support female workers

Economic Times; India Infoline News Service; Live Mint; Daily News & Analysis

  • number of women in labour force "substantially lower than the number of men" 
  • sectors highlighted: business services, film industry, finance, insurance, real estate
  • Deloitte increases maternity leave to 26 weeks; EY, KPMG, PWC to follow suit
Thailand: Community rights over land & resources said to be at risk under military govt.’s draft constitution


Chinese Govt. crackdown on freedom of expression & rule of law affects both CEOs & human rights lawyers

Michael Posner, NYU Stern School of Business, on CNBC

China: Clampdown on lawyers & activists draws concern of UN human rights chief

Permanent Mission of China to UN Office in Geneva; UN News Centre

Europe & Central Asia
Amnesty Intl. says UK’s OECD National Contact Point fails to hold companies accountable for human rights abuses

Amnesty Intl.; The Guardian (UK)

Italy: Migrants harvesting oranges face dire working conditions, companies avoid responsibility

The Guardian (UK)

UK Govt. consultation on implementation of EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive

UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

  • deadline to submit views 15 Apr
Middle East & North Africa
Jordan: EBRD funds waste-to-energy project that may generate employment for Syrian refugees

Gulf News

Turkey: Police block environmental protest against Cengiz Holding gold mine

Today's Zaman; The Guardian (UK)

Now in Arabic: "Digging Deeper: The Human Rights Impacts of Coal in the Global South"

Dejusticia and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • with case studies on Colombia, Egypt, India, So. Africa
Company responses
Registration open for 2016 Asia Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (19-20 Apr, Doha) New project: Protection for human rights defenders in National Action Plans on business & human rights

Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) & Intl. Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Forthcoming events:
  • online course on workers' rights in a global economy (3 Mar-27 Apr)
  • UN Guiding Principles compliance lab (8 Mar, Copenhagen)
  • is your business ready for the Modern Slavery Act? (8, 9, 14 Mar, London)
  • share & learn lunch: how companies can work against corruption (9 Mar, Zurich)
  • webinar on traceability solutions for the apparel sector (9 & 10 Mar, online)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Internship at Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (deadline 2 Mar)

Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
We take no position on views by commentators, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
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