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Weekly Update - 26 August 2015

Lead Story
Thailand: NGOs condemn indictment of labour rights activist, Andy Hall, over criminal defamation charges brought by pineapple company, Natural Fruit 

Finnwatch;; Human Rights Watch; Walk Free

  • charges brought over report alleging serious labour rights abuses including: violence, forced overtime, child labour, passport confiscation from migrant workers
  • court's decision to indict Andy Hall "a blow to human rights", says Finnwatch
  • 44 NGOs send joint letter to Thai Prime Minister, asking for charges to be withdrawn 
  • we invited 8 of Natural Fruit's US buyers to provide statements on the case:
    • we received responses from: J. A. Kirsch, Port Royal Sales, Supervalu Intl.
    • Anchana Intl., Nemco Food Trading, and Schreiber Foods Intl. did not provide statements
    • Acme Food Sales and Purcell Intl. have not yet provided statements - we will indicate in a future update whether they do or not
  • Walk Free petition calling for charges to be dropped open for signatures

(photo credit:Finnwatch)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Mary Robinson Speaker Series - Climate justice and business: Human rights from the frontlines to Paris (New York, 23 Sep)

Latest addition to our "Debate the Treaty" blog series
  • "Corporate Human Rights Obligations: Controversial but necessary", Nicolás Carrillo-Santarelli, La Sabana University (Colombia)
Visit our special page on business’ human rights impacts around the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is recruiting an Anglophone Southern & Western Africa Researcher & Representative
Class action lawsuit in US court brought against Costco & CP Foods for selling prawns allegedly derived from slavery

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy; Guardian (UK)

  • full text of complaint available - claims feed used by CP Foods in prawn farms comes from fish caught using slave labour
Complaint before US Govt. alleging intimidation by SGSOC/Herakles Farms in land transfers in Cameroon resolved in accord between company & NGOs

U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

  • NGOs to submit full request in August for SGSOC to investigate past land acquisitions, company commits to responding within 3 months
  • this is 1st mediation conducted by US NCP to reach a mutually agreed resolution
World Water Week 2015 

World Bank; Guardian (UK); edie; WaterWorld; TriplePundit

  • SABMiller & WWF on importance of partnerships for achieving water security
  • InterContinental Hotels Group announce water stewardship programme
  • engineering firm CH2M receives award for its leadership in potable water reuse
Malawi: Local authority warns Carlsberg Malawi and Chibuku Products (part of SABMiller) to guard against discharging effluent into local river

Nyasa Times (Malawi)

  • said past & on-going discharges were rendering water unusable
  • we invited Carlsberg & SABMiller to respond - responses provided
African Commission on Human & Peoples' Rights draft General Comment proposes corporate accountability for deprivation of right to life

RightsasUsual (UK)

Liberia: Communities accuse Aureus Mining of not living up to its Resettlement Action Plan agreement

Front Page Africa (Liberia) 

  • article includes company comments
Malawi: New human rights & business country guide

Citizens for Justice (Malawi), Danish Institute for Human Rights

Brazil: McDonald's faces global scrutiny at human rights hearing in Federal Senate over alleged labour, health & safety abuses; includes company statement

Guardian (UK); Reuters

Intl. Service for Human Rights (ISHR) & Intl. Platform against Impunity

Dominican Rep.: Haitians in sugar plantations exporting to the US “live under working conditions similar to slavery”, says Al Jazeera 
  • we invited Grupo Vicini & Central Romana to respond re conditions in their plants -  response of Grupo Vicini provided
  • we will indicate in a future Update whether Central Romana responds
Costa Rica Govt. issues decree to protect workers from heat stress & dehydration; measures could save thousands of cane cutters from fatal kidney disease

La Isla Foundation

Asia & Pacific
Philippines: Bataan community allegedly face intimidation, evictions, pollution & health problems due to construction of coal power plants

Rappler (Philippines) 

  • we invited 2 companies involved in the construction of plants, Petron & San Miguel Corp., to respond but they did not
India: 97% of companies not aware of sexual harassment at work law, survey finds

PTI (Press Trust of India)

Thailand: Police charge farm owner after finding 12 Lao workers enslaved & kept in cages

Bangkok Post

China: NGOs increasingly using technology & own research to uncover large scale pollution by companies

Caixin (China)

Europe & Central Asia
Sweden launches National Action Plan implementing UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights

Government Offices of Sweden

Spanish judge seeks change in law to prosecute companies for economic or environmental crimes

Guardian (UK)

Italy: Deaths of fruit pickers highlight working conditions akin to modern slavery

Independent (UK)

Middle East & North Africa
Commentary: Foreign corporations planning to do business in Iran have opportunity to highlight human rights

Bayan Towfiq of, on Institute for Human Rights and Business

Qatar delays laws requiring firms to pay workers fully & on time 

Deutsche Welle

Saudi Arabia: Authorities find 1225 firms violating midday work ban designed to protect workers' health from soaring temperatures

Gulf Business

Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • Ethical Trade & Human Rights Forum (London, 19 Sep, early deadline 28 Aug)
  • debate on legally binding instrument on business & human rights (Brussels, 2 Sep)
  • Global Child Forum 2015 (Pretoria, 8 Sep)
  • short course on human rights for business people (London, 8 Sep)
  • panel discussion: social responsibility & the extractives industry (London 10 Sep)  
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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