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Weekly Update - 26 October 2016 

Lead Story
India: Report highlights unsafe practices at shup recyclers contracted by Maersk at Shree Ram shipyard in Alang

Danwatch; Bellona; Maritime Executive

  • concerns include lack of safety equipment & contracts, unsafe disposal of hazardous waste, conditions putting workers' rights & environment at risk
  • Maersk admits gaps to Danwatch: “we agree that the photos show that our requirements are not being met. The situation is being addressed by the shipyard.”
  • we invited Maersk to respond to allegations of undermining efforts at a European level to improve conditions globally - response provided
  • we will indicate next week whether Shree Ram Group responds to allegations

(Photo credit: S. Rahman)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Briefing: "What’s changed for Syrian refugees in Turkish garment supply chains?"
  • report analyses the responses of high street brands for 2nd time this year on steps they are taking to protect vulnerable refugee workers from exploitation
  • few brands, including Next & New Look show leadership, while laggard companies moving slowly
Blog: "Breaking silence: Getting companies, govts. and the UN to speak out to protect defenders"

Ella Skybenko & Ana Zbona

  • refers to case of indigenous & environmental rights defenders, Sergey Nikiforov currently imprisoned in Russia
Job vacancy: Development Officer, based New York or London (deadline 23 Nov)
BBC undercover investigation exposes exploitation of Syrian refugees, including children in Turkish factories supplying UK high street
  • brands featured: ASOS, Inditex, Marks & Spencer, Next, Mango - comments by brands included
2nd UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed business & human rights treaty takes place this week
  • NGOs welcome participation of EU, highlight intl. trade & investment policy, extraterritorial obligations as key issues
  • follow our live twitter feed & dedicated page for latest updates & materials, with daily commentary, videos & statements by NGOs, business orgs.
  • check out our latest contribution to our Debate the Treaty blog series & our summary of the debate so far
UN Special Rapporteur calls on businesses to adopt zero-tolerance approach towards attacks on environmental defenders

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

UN Working Group report to UN General Assembly examines role of businesses & govts. in responsible agriculture & sourcing

UN Working Group on business & human rights

  • focus on impacts on indigenous peoples & local communities of palm oil & sugarcane
Companies can be held liable for direct use of forced labour & human trafficking, says new report

Institute for Human Rights and Business

  • reports examines legislation & legal duties in Brazil, Japan, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, UAE, UK, USA
So. African NGOs submit report to UN Human Rights Council re impacts of mining & coal-fired power plants on human rights & environment

Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Centre for Environmental Rights, Earthjustice, groundwork & 3 local environmental alliances

Kenya: More than 900 residents around closed lead smelter test positive for lead poisoning according to NGOs; more than 300 people have died

Mediamax (Kenya)


Malawi: Petition calls for release of activists arrested seeking reparations for historical injustices including forced labour in tea estates

Kemet Forum

Brazil: "Starving to death little by little every day" - Report alleges abuses of land & housing rights of fishing communities affected by Usina Trapiche

Comissão Pastoral da Terra 

Brazil: Federal prosecutors file homicide charges against 21 people inclduing company officials in connection with Doce River socioenvironmental disaster

Wall Street Journal (USA)

  • BHP, Samarco & Vale reject charges
US court reinstates lawsuit against military contractor CACI over Abu Ghraib torture claims

Associated Press; Center for Constitutional Rights

Asia & Pacific
China releases third National Human Rights Action Plan (2016-2020), includes few elements on business & human rights

Xinhua; commentary by Liang Xiaohui 

  • unofficial English translation of commentary provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Vietnam: Local officials say Ho Ho Hydro Plant failed to notify downsream residents of water release worsening impacts of flooding that killed dozens

Radio Free Asia

Japan: Filipino "trainee" worked to death, with up to 122 hours of overtime per month, says ruling by labour inspection office

Asahi Shimbun

Japan: Man sues temporary worker recruitment agency Recruit Holdings for failing to stop boss's verbal abuse, leading to depression

Asahi Shimbun (Japan)

  • we approached the company for a response; response provided
Singapore: New rule requiring permit for foreign corporate sponsorship of certain events reportedly restricts support for annual gay rights gathering


Europe & Central Asia
UN Special Rapporteurs & Working Group on business & human rights urges Russian Govt. to investigate & take action on imprisoned indigenous rights defender's case

UN Working Group business & human rights; Special Rapporteur on environment; Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion & expression; Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly & association; Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders

  • refers to Evenk indigenous community leader's imprisonment, whose sentencing appears "to be directly related to his activities in defence of human rights"
France: “Unpacking the Bill on Corporate Due Diligence” 

Nadia Bernaz, Middlesex University School of Law, on RightsasUsual

Human rights impact assessments and responsible divestment plan for Telia’s subsidiaries in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, 


Middle East & North Africa
Egypt: Suez Cement responds to allegations of environmental pollution & denial of the right to information in legal action filed by Habi Center

Jordan: Lack of day-care services responsible for low participation of women in formal economy, says commentary

7iber (Jordan)

New responses from construction firms to our survey on migrant workers in Qatar & UAE
Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • company-community mediation in complex environments (30 Oct - 4 Nov, Cape Town)
  • advanced studies in children's rights, including child labour (Feb 2017 - Nov 2018, apply by 1 Nov, Geneva)
  • short course on corporate sustainability (2-4 Nov, New Haven)
  • business training on human rights due diligence (3 Nov, Bern)
  • access to justice for victims of corporate human rights violations (3 Nov, Milan)
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 (Development Officer)

Other current vacancies:
  • Coalition for Human Rights in Development (3 posts: Communications Intern; Research & Advocacy Intern/Fellow; Human Rights & Development Finance Translation Intern)
  • Fair Food Standards Council (3 posts: Financial Investigator, Human Rights; Human Rights Attorney; Human Rights Investigator)
  • Global Child Forum (Senior Researcher, Children’s Rights)
  • The B Team (Director, 100% Human at Work)
  • 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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