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Weekly Update - 15 July 2015

Lead Story
Over 40 civil society organizations urge new BRICS development bank to respect human rights & environment

Bank on Human Rights

  • Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa launch New Development Bank as an alternative to World Bank, Intl. Monetary Fund
  • open letter calls for inclusive development driven by communities, transparent processes, strong standards & accountability, sustainable development
  • letter available in English, French, Portuguese, Russian & Spanish

(Photo credit: Roberto Stuckert Filho)
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia

From us
Human Rights Watch report documents reprisals against World Bank project critics, including threats, intimidation tactics & baseless criminal charges
  • includes responses from the World Bank, IFC, Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, Tehri Hydro Development Co.
  • we are inviting Shukaku to respond & will indicate whether it responds next week
First meeting of UN Intergovt. working group on proposed business & human rights treaty ends in Geneva: Summaries & analysis of sessions
  • participants satisfied with process but concerns raised over absence of countries home to large number of multinationals
  • new contribution to our “Debate the Treaty” blog series
Mo Ibrahim & Unilever CEO Paul Polman call for joint efforts by govts. & businesses to fight climate change & poverty


Increasing number of legal complaints against companies & govts. over climate change responsibility

Responding to Climate Change

  • refers to complaints in Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Philippines & USA
UN Working Group urges alignment of Sustainable Development Goals with UN Guiding Principles
So. Africa: Women in Marikana lodge complaint with Intl. Finance Corporation, raising concerns regarding IFC's investment in Lonmin

Centre for Applied Legal Studies

  • issues include absence of decent housing, sanitation & access to water; air & water pollution; lack of employment for women
  • we invited Lonmin to respond; response provided
Tanzania: Report analyses business & human rights concerns nationally, with focus on labour rights, land rights, gender, taxation, environmental justice

Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC)

  • with video introduction of report by Flaviana Charles of LHRC
  • we invited Alliance One Tobacco, Highland Estates, Mamujee Products, Mtibwa Sugar Estate to respond:
  • Mamujee Products response provided
  • Alliance One Tobacco indicated it will respond; in next week's Update we will include its response, and indicate whether Highland Estates and Mtibwa Sugar Estate respond
Tanzania civil society groups decry lack of consultation in adopting key oil & gas revenue management laws

Civil Society Coalition in Tanzania; Citizen (Tanzania); Tanzania Civil Society Working Group on Extractive Industries; East African (Kenya)

Canadian court orders HudBay to disclose corporate documentation in lawsuit over alleged killings & rape in Guatemala

Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability

UN Human Rights Committee monitoring implementation of Intl. Covenant on Civil & Political Rights comments on accountability of Canadian firms for abuses overseas

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Canadian Press

Mexico: HD Electronics Reynosa, LG Electronics supplier & owner of factory where female worker lost hands in accident, did not respond to concerns about inadequate compensation
  • previous response by LG Electronics provided
Peru: Human Rights Ombudsman reports 210 “social conflicts” involving companies in June 2015
Asia & Pacific
China: More than 100 lawyers detained or questioned in nationwide crackdown on activists, including lawyers who handled cases on corporate abuses

Guardian (UK); China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group

Indonesia: Reports of inadequate compensation for Jatigede Dam resettlement in West Java

People Alliance to Refuse Jatigede Dam; Jakarta Post

  • we invited Sinohydro to respond; response provided (currently only available in Chinese)
Bangladesh: Accord signs co-operative agreement with Intl. Finance Corporation to provide loans for garment factory safety improvements

Further to last week's Update: adidas, Gap, H&M, Marks & Spencer provide statements on proposed minimum wage in Myanmar

Associated Press; Democratic Voice of Burma

  • govt. proposes USD 3.2 minimum wage; employers say it is unsustainable while workers call for increase to USD 3.5
  • we invited adidas, Gap, H&M, Marks & Spencer and Primark to provide a statement; Primark is preparing a response - other responses provided
  • H&M developing programmes to strengthen workers' rights & ability to negotiate on wages & other issues
US likely to upgrade Malaysia's human trafficking rating, as Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal looms - rights groups decry move

David Abramowitz of Humanity United in The Hill; The News Hub; ATEST; Reuters

Europe & Central Asia
Netherlands: Public procurement practices do not adequately take into account companies' human rights records

MVO Platform

  • Dutch Natl. Action Plan commits to ensuring all companies supplying the govt. would comply with UN Guiding Principles
UK Govt. accepting written submissions for Natl. Action Plan revision until 31 July
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: Consultation on draft indicators open until 31 Aug
  • seeking feedback from companies, investors, civil society & policymakers

Phil Bloomer, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

New Private Military & Security Companies Bulletin highlights their impacts on human rights & recent developments

Checklist for documenting human rights abuses involving companies

ESCR-Net, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • second draft available in 7 languages for comments, implementation
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:
  • science, business & human rights coalition meeting (Washington DC, 16-17 Jul)
  • "2015 China Summit on Caring for Climate" (Beijing, 22 Jul)
  • gathering of public interest law practitioners (Johannesburg, 23-24 Jul)
  • business ethics training for suppliers in China (Guangzhou & Shanghai, 27-31 Jul)
  • briefing: Liberia's expanding plantations & human rights abuses (London, 28 Jul) 
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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