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Weekly Update - 22 July 2015

Lead Story
Alien Tort lawsuit brought by Indonesian villagers against ExonnMobil allowed to proceed in US court despite Kiobel ruling 
  • first case involving allegations of overseas corporate abuse to survive limits established in Kiobel v. Shell 
  • judge held newly added claim that top Exxon figures knowingly hired and supported local military forces who tortured, killed & sexually assaulted villagers passed Kiobel's "touch and concern" test
  • ExxonMobil rejects allegations 
  • full text of judgment and summary profile of case also provided
(Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 AgnosticPreachersKid)
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From us

Latest additions to "Debate the Treaty" blog series:
  • "Get real or we'll get nothing", John Ruggie reflects on the First Session of the Intergovernmental Working Group
  • risk of corporate capture of the treaty process, perspectives from Bobby Ramakant (WHO World No Tobacco Day Awardee 2008) & Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development
"Human rights and the Extractive Industry" - strategies for investor engagement

UN Principles for Responsible Investment 

UN concludes "Financing for Development" conference, Addis Ababa - concerns over lack of accountability for private sector

Amnesty Intl.

"Investment in Occupied Lands" - new database of companies doing business in Crimea, Palestine

EIRIS Conflict Risk Network

"The Outlaw Ocean: Weak rules, little oversight and violence on the high seas"

Four-part series by New York Times

"The Myth of the Ethical Shopper"

Michael Hobbes, in Huffington Post

  • on limitations of consumer advocacy, the case for government enforcement
So. Africa: AngloGold Ashanti criticised after former miners suffering from silicosis were housed in "cell-like" accommodation while attending agreed medical evaluations 

Zanele Mbuyisa & Richard Meeran, miner's legal representatives in Business Day (So. Africa)

  • we invited AngloGold Ashanti to respond - response provided in which company apologises 
So. Africa: Community attributes increased health problems to pollution from ArcelorMittal's operations

Mail & Guardian (So. Africa)

  • we invited ArcelorMittal to respond - response provided
Africa: New investigative journalism series "Fatal Extraction" highlights "vast & in some cases deadly footprint" of Australian mining firms

Intl. Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Center for Public Integrity, African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules workplace sexual orientation discrimination illegal nationwide

New York Times; Washington Post 

Guatemala: NGO requests intl. commission to investigate govt. process granting license to Tahoe Resources for Escobal project despite community complaints

Nisgua (Guatemala) 

Colombia: National Development Plan threatens to allow mining firms to operate on illegally acquired lands, says Amnesty Intl.
Asia & Pacific
Thailand: Thousands of Rohingya enslaved in fishing industry - role of govt., fishermen & traffickers


Thailand: NGOs & trade unions demand govt. ends harassment of human rights defenders in run-up to final preliminary hearing in Andy Hall case; Finnwatch, Human Rights Watch and other orgs

  • indictment decision postponed for a month amid intl. calls to drop charges
  • defamation claims brought by Natural Fruit against the labour rights activist
Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business launches 2nd Transparency in Myanmar Enterprises report 

Transfield Services staff accused of sexual abuse at detention centre in Nauru, handling immigration cases for Australian Govt.

ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.); SBS (Australia)

  • allegations are subject of Australian Senate inquiry
India: Tergene Biotech develops affordable pneumonia vaccine 

The Hindu (India)

Europe & Central Asia
Ikea commits to paying living wage to UK workers following campaign 

Guardian (UK)

Norwegian OECD Natl. Contact Point rejects complaint linking Norges Bank's investments to forced & child labour in Uzbekistan 

Norwegian Natl. Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinatl. Enterprises; Norges Bank Investment Management; Cotton Campaign

  • we invited Norges Bank to respond - response provided
UK: Law Society launches consultations to address needs of lawyers on business & human rights
  • link to online survey provided
Middle East & North Africa
Commentary: "Why Human Rights is Good Business in Post-Deal Iran"

Gissou Nia of Intl. Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, in Cairo Review of Global Affairs

US Senate FIFA Inquiry examines plight of migrant construction workers in Qatar

New York Times

Israeli labour court denies equal work conditions to Palestinians working in West Bank  

Jerusalem Post   

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
"What will convince Ottawa to rein in Canadian companies?"

Gregory Regaignon, North America Researcher & Research Director, and Emily Kaufman, Research Intern

Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: Consultation on draft indicators now open 
  • seeking feedback from companies, investors, civil society & policymakers - deadline 31st August 2015
"Time to move from rhetoric to action on business & human rights in Latin America"

Amanda Romero, Senior Researcher & Representative for South America

Want to know what Brazil, Germany, Tanzania, Myanmar and 40 other governments are doing on business & human rights? Check our Government Action Platform!
Company responses Non-responses
Reminder: Online consultation for OHCHR's Accountability and Remedy Project open until 1 Aug

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Forthcoming events:
  • gathering of public interest law practitioners (Johannesburg, 23-24 Jul)
  • panel discussion: "Community Consent Index 2015: Oil, Gas, & Mining Company Public Positions on FPIC" (Washington DC/online, 23 Jul)
  • business ethics training for suppliers in China (Guangzhou & Shanghai, 27-31 Jul)
  • FIFA & the World Cup: an end to human rights violations? (Washington DC, 28 Jul)
  • human rights & the exploitation of natural resources (Washington DC, 28 Jul)
  • Global Child Forum 2015 (Pretoria, 8 Sep)
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 (Anglophone Southern & Western Africa Researcher & Representative)

Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
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