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Weekly Update - 2 March 2016

Lead Story
"In the courtroom and beyond: New strategies to overcome inequality and improve access to justice"

our new annual briefing on corporate legal accountability - main findings include:
  • society’s growing inequality is reflected in the challenges victims face in seeking legal redress for business-related human rights abuse
  • lawyers are collaborating to develop new strategies beyond lawsuits to improve access to remedy 
  • major projects by UN & intl. groups offer prospect of some ways forward to address accountability gaps
executive summary available in Chinese, French, Russian Spanish
(Photo credit: Pierre-Louis Ferré) 
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Business & Responsible Taxation webinar now available online

UN Global Compact and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Our new registry of corporate slavery & trafficking statements made under the supply chain transparency provisions in UK Modern Slavery Act
  • 75 statements made so far
Peruvian community sues Xstrata in UK alleging responsibility for deaths & injuries of protestors opposing mining activities

Leigh Day

Burberry & Inditex join global business coalition pushing for LGBT rights

Gay Star Business

Access to Seeds Index benchmarks top seed companies on efforts to support smallholder farmers

Access to Seeds Foundation; Guardian (UK)

  • DuPont Pioneer leads among field crop seed firms
  • East-West Seed leads among vegetable seed firms & on Regional Index for Eastern Africa 
Commentary: "Who is in charge? A key question for human rights impact assessments"

Measuring Business & Human Rights and Oxfam America, on Huffington Post 

Senegal: Local communities protest against Teranga Gold over loss of livelihoods due to closure of artisanal mine

Sud Quotidien (Senegal)

  • we invited Teranga Gold to respond; response provided
Kenya: Renewable energy projects cause loss of livelihoods & social conflicts says new report on impacts on indigenous peoples

Intl. Work Group for Indigenous Affairs

  • we invited Lake Turkana Wind Power & KenGen to respond:
    • response by Lake Turkana Wind Power provided
    • KenGen did not respond
So. Africa: Security personnel shoot & injure protesting students at North West University, victim opens attempted murder case against security company  


Brazil: President of Samarco & 6 others charged with homicide for mining disaster that killed 19 people, flooded villages & damaged river


US Govt. prepares to enforce law closing loophole that permitted import of goods made with forced & child labour

Guardian (UK)

Asia & Pacific
Thailand: Activists claim modern slavery continues in fishing industry, call on EU to keep up pressure by maintaining "yellow card" designation on imports

Guardian (UK); Undercurrent News

  • EU “yellow card” could lead to ban on Thai seafood imports
BankTrack report assesses responses of 15 banks to evidence of forced labour & other serious abuses on palm oil plantations in Malaysia by company they financed, IOI Corp.
  • banks assessed: Bank of China, Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, JPMorgan Chase, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Mitsui Financial, Mizuho Financial, Morgan Stanley, Société Générale, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo, UBS
  • we invited IOI Corp. to respond; response provided
Myanmar: British man held in jail for 14 months following fraud complaint by KBZ Bank claims he has not been formally charged & is being kept in inhumane conditions

Guardian (UK)

  • we invited KBZ Bank to respond; response provided
China Labor Watch calls for brands to communicate with Lide Shoe Factory & govt. to secure release of detained labour activists amid official crackdown

China Labour Bulletin; China Labor Watch

  • 1 activist, Zhu Xhaomei, released after 2 months' detention
  • we invited Calvin Klein/PVH, Li & Fung, Wolverine to respond:
    • Calvin Klein/PVH responded
    • Li & Fung, Wolverine did not respond
Myanmar migrant workers win USD 1.3 million from Thai tuna firm over labour abuses

Agence France-Presse

Europe & Central Asia
Azerbaijan: Workplace health & safety abuses by SOCAR contributed to high number of casualties following Guneshli oil field accident

Oil-Workers’ Rights Protection Organization (OWRPO)

  • accident left 12 dead, 19 missing & 32 injured
  • we invited SOCAR to respond; response provided
Azerbaijan: ASCO & BP respond to rejoinder by Oil-Workers' Rights Protection Organization over alleged labour rights abuses 

Russia: 36 killed in accident at Severnaya mine owned by Vorkutaugol

Bloomberg Business

  • article also available in Russian
Spain: Constitutional Court ruling withdraws Edgewater Exploration's mining permit; local community hails decision on environmental & public health grounds

Plataforma Salvemos Cabana

Middle East & North Africa
Turkey: Fair Labor Association assessment of Hugo Boss factory raises concerns over freedom of association
  • we invited Hugo Boss to respond; response provided
Fertiliser producer, Lifosa, to halt phosphate imports from Western Sahara following claims Morocco has no right to sell resources from disputed territory

Western Sahara Resource Watch

Turkish Govt. temporarily halts Cerattepe mine construction in wake of massive protests over environmental concerns

Today’s Zaman

Company responses Non-responses
Candidates for UN Working Group member from Asia & Pacific announced

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Kenya commits to develop a Natl. Action Plan on business & human rights

Githu Muigai, Attorney General of Kenya; Danish Institute for Human Rights

  • Danish Institute for Human Rights & Kenya Human Rights Commission to play key role in developing NAP
Forthcoming events:
  • share & learn lunch: how companies can work against corruption (9 Mar, Zurich)
  • webinar on traceability solutions for the apparel sector (9 & 10 Mar, online)
  • responsible recruitment of migrant workers (10 Mar, online)
  • launch: OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains (11 Mar, Paris)
  • legal responses & remedies to trans-boundary pollution (15 Mar, Singapore)
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 today)

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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