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Weekly Update - 2 November 2016

Lead Story
Rainforest Action Network finds lack of progress in Japanese companies' disclosure of social & environmental risks associated with deforestation
  • report comes on first anniversary of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, designed to increase transparency
  • we invited firms mentioned in report to respond to allegations of environmental & social risk factors in their supply chains
  • responses from Askul, Fuji Oil, Itochu, Mizuho Financial Group, Sumitomo Forestry, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
  • Marubeni, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Oji Holdings, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings did not respond

(photo credit: BTU Weekly)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Blog: "We need to empower workers to address the most intractable labour issues in agricultural supply chains"

Felicitas Weber, KnowTheChain and Irit Tamir, Oxfam America

New case profile: Habi Center for Environmental Rights sues Lafarge Egypt & Suez Cement Group for pollution caused by use of coal 2 vacancies at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
Conclusion of 2nd UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed business & human rights treaty
  • focus on regulating companies operating abroad, legal obligations for business, scope of proposed treaty & access to justice
  • push by So. Africa for draft negotiating text of proposed binding treaty to be delivered at next year’s session, resistance from other states
  • civil society pleased with improved EU attendance, note absence of key states
  • includes commentaries, materials & interviews
  • oral statements & written contributions by business & civil society here
Registration for UN Forum on Business & Human Rights ends 8 Nov - speaker list now available

"Samsung - Modern Tech, Medieval Conditions" - report highlights anti-union activities & denial of justice to families of employees who died as a result of working conditions

Intl. Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

  • we invited Samsung to respond; Samsung sent us a statement outlining their company level approach to labour rights without addressing the specific allegations made by ITUC
Blog: EU regulation on conflict minerals unlikely to trigger dynamic changes in supply chains

Chiara Macchi, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, in Rights as Usual

Uganda: Consortium calls on oil exploration & mining companies to respect & promote human rights in their operations

Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability

  • we invited companies highlighted to respond - response from Seyani Brothers
  • we will indicate in a future Update if we receive further responses/non-responses
Liberia: New Human Rights Risk Assessment approach applied to KLK’s Equatorial Palm Oil plantation


  • NomoGaia finds company fails to respect labour & other rights
  • with comments by the company
Kenya: Displaced locals allege lack of consultation, inadequate compensation by Base Titanium; includes company comments

Global Press Institute

USA: Police forcefully remove native "water protectors" from Dakota Access Pipeline path

Guardian (UK); Los Angeles Times; EarthRights Intl., Center for Intl. Environmental Law & other NGOs; Amnesty Intl. USA; Mother Jones; Intl. Indian Treaty Council; Huffington Post; UN Special Rapporteur on rights of indigenous peoples

  • some protesters allege cruel & inhumane treatment; continue marching near pipeline
  • Amnesty Intl. to monitor police response to protesters
  • NGOs warn pipeline company & financiers of possible legal liability
Colombia: NGOs denounce alleged aggression by govt. forces against community protesting health & environmental impacts of fracking by ConocoPhillips

Escuela Nacional Sindical

  • we invited ConocoPhillips to respond - response provided
Brazil: Investors sign manifesto for a strong Brazilian Green Bonds Market

Investor Ideas (US and Canada)

USA: In advance of election, human rights expert says political funding committee controlled by BP supports candidates who undermine human rights, deny climate science

Christopher Avery, former Director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, former Deputy Head of Research, Amnesty Intl.; Reuters; Mother Jones

  • we invited BP to respond – responses to original letter & rejoinder by Chris Avery provided, as well as further statement by Chris Avery
Mexico: Indigenous communities oppose mining company Almaden Minerals claiming lack of consultation

GPJ News Mexico

  • includes company comments
Asia & Pacific
Pakistan: ILO report on approaches to minimum wage in formal & informal garment sector
  • highlights challenges to implementation of labour rights posed by role of “mega-suppliers”   
Philippines: New analysis of carbon majors' responses to Commission on Human Rights petition regarding climate-related impacts

Climate Home

Vietnam: Govt. allegedly tried to prevent mass filing of lawsuits against Formosa Plastics for toxic spill; abduction of drivers & other forms of harassment reported

Radio Free Asia

Thailand: Locals fear eviction & destruction of traditional livelihoods as junta moves ahead with Songkhla special economic zone


India: Further to last week’s Update, Shree Ra Group responds regarding health & safety concerns at Alang shipyard
Europe & Central Asia
UK: Landmark ruling finds Uber drivers are not self-employed & should be paid “national living wage"

Leigh Day; Guardian (UK); Financial Times

  • Uber argues it is a tech firm not a transport business & drivers are self-employed 
EU: Parliament votes for stronger corporate accountability for serious human rights abuses abroad

European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)

Denmark: Supermarkets stop selling some So. African wines following modern day slavery allegations

Face 2 Face Africa

Middle East & North Africa
New responses from construction firms regarding migrant workers in the Gulf
  • responses from Al Naboodah Construction Group, TAV Construction (re UAE) and QD-CBG, Salini Impregilo (re Qatar)
  • ALEC, Balfour Beatty (re UAE), Ferrovial Agroman (re Qatar) declined to respond
Iran: UN Special Rapporteur says new investors can "do their part in ensuring respect for human rights in the country" - and must support better human rights protection

Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (in final report to UN)

Egypt: Ex-employees of Tanta Linen Factory demand to be rehired after being forced into early retirement

Daily News

  • follows 2011 court verdict ordering factory to return to public sector after it was privatised
Company responses Non-responses
Our New York office has moved! New address: 120 Wall Street, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10005
Forthcoming events:
  • course: business, conflict & human rights (10-12 Nov, Basel)
  • tools to improve working conditions in global supply chains (10 Nov, London)
  • symposium on modern slavery & ethical labour in construction (10 Nov, London)
  • designing effective human rights training for business (10 Nov, online)
  • business coaching on human rights due diligence (11 Nov, Bangalore)
  • human rights impact of gold mining in Chocó, Colombia (11 Nov, London)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Current vacancies:
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (2 posts: Development Manager, Europe; Development Officer)
  • Ethical Trading Initiative (Senior Policy & Advocacy Advisor)
  • Fair Food Standards Council (3 posts: Financial Investigator, Human Rights; Human Rights Attorney; Human Rights Investigator)
  • Fair Wear Foundation (Project Manager)
  • Union of Concerned Scientists (3 posts: Outreach Coordinator; Outreach Intern; Senior Campaign Organizer, Fossil Fuel Company Accountability)
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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