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Weekly Update - 27 July 2016

Lead Story
Report links financial sector to human rights abuses of asylum-seekers in Australia's offshore detention centres

Get Up (No Business in Abuse) & Human Rights Law Centre; Guardian (UK)

  • report highlights role of banks & shareholders; responses by BBVA, BNP Paribas, Royal Bank of Scotland; further banks named in report
  • Ferrovial acquired company managing detention centre in May; says it will not bid for new contract in 2017 
  • UN reports have condemned abuses in detention centres including beatings, violence, sexual abuse, arbitrary & indefinite detention

(photo credit: Adam J.W.C.)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Blog: "In Post Coup Turkey, Syrian refugee garment workers’ future could hang in the balance" Event: "Syrian refugees in supply chains: Exploitation or opportunity?" (New York, 26 Sep)
World Bank publishes new draft of social & environmental policy framework; civil society raises concerns about inadequate human rights protections

Group of African civil society organizations; Forest Peoples Programme; Human Rights Watch

  • incl. concerns around indigenous peoples' rights, land rights, free prior & informed consent
US exempts companies investing under USD 5 million in Myanmar from mandatory reporting on their approach to human rights

Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable, US Campaign for Burma, NYU Stern Center, Amnesty Intl. USA, Investors Against Genocide, AFL-CIO, Global Witness, EarthRights Intl.; Frontier Myanmar

  • NGOs write to US Govt. in opposition to new rule
UN Special Rapporteur warns shrinking civic space threatens achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly & association, in Foreign Policy

Overview of initiatives to integrate human rights into public procurement practices

Intl. Learning Lab on Public Procurement and Human Rights (Danish Institute for Human Rights, Harrison Institute at Georgetown Univ., Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable)

  • includes information from 20 jurisdictions worldwide
Report analyses how free flow of data enhances trade & human rights

Institute for Human Rights and Business

adidas publishes policy on human rights defenders

adidas Group

  • includes expectations for suppliers & other business partners’ actions on defenders
So. Africa: Australian mining firm MRC pulls out of Xolobeni 4 months after community leader was killed; cites "threats to peace and harmony of the local community"

IOL (South Africa)

Funding agribusinesses in Ethiopia "sacrifices" locals lives for profits, says activist

Nykiaw Ochalla, Anywaa Survival Organisation-ASO, onThomas Reuters Foundation

Uganda: Local farmer is allegedly injured by Formasa Tree Planting co. employees over land dispute; company comments provided

National Association of Professional Environmentalists (Uganda)

Colombia: NGO report highlights environmental, human rights impacts of oil extraction on communities in Puerto Gaitan

National Observer, Intl. Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (Cajar), Escuela Nacional Sindical (Ens), Proyecto de Acompañamiento Internacional (Paso)

  • community-based human rights impact assessment finds labour rights abuses, environmental damage, threats to survival of indigenous peoples, increased repression of human rights defenders
  • we invited companies named in the report to respond - Pacific Exploration & Production, Ecopetrol, ISVI Ltda responded; Montajes J&M did not
  • full report available in Spanish; executive summary provided in English
UK High Court finds provocative Xstrata email showing company manager's animus to community leaders to be relevant & disclosable in Peruvian human rights claim against company

Leigh Day

USA: "Just transition" framework needed to support fossil fuel industry workers in transition to a low-carbon economy

Robert Pollin & Brian Callaci, Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst, in American Prospect

Asia & Pacific
Bangladeshi child labourer "tortured to death" at textile mill


Japanese OECD National Contact Point accepts complaint by 23 community leaders affected by Indonesia Batang coal plant 

OECD Watch

  • complainants cite project's impacts on livelihoods, lack of meaningful consultation; community members have experienced intimidation, violence, arbitrary arrests
Indonesia to propose minimum wage for ASEAN workers amidst concerns of multinationals relocating to countries with lowest wages

Jakarta Post

India: Court order to raise wages likely to improve lives of over 300,000 garment workers in Tamil Nadu; garment factory owners say industry is still struggling

Press Trust of India; Hindu; Indian Express; Economic Times


India: Suicide note of medical representative blames Abbott for his death, company rejects claims

Economic Times

Europe & Central Asia
Belarus: Telecoms companies facilitate secret govt. surveillance by providing access to customer communications & data, says new report

Amnesty Intl.

  • we invited Telekom Austria, MTS & Turkcell to respond
  • Telekom Austria response provided; MTS and Turkcell did not respond
European Commission proposes binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for member states

EU News

Too few companies would be required to undertake due diligence on conflict minerals under new EU deal, says Global Witness
Middle East & North Africa
UAE: Abu Dhabi court orders company to pay compensation to family of construction worker crushed to death on site

7Days (UAE)

Bahrain: Construction workers protest over unpaid wages from GP Zachariades Civil Engineering; company disputes claims

Construction Week (UAE)


Further to previous update: Egypt: Titan Cement workers acquitted of charges brought by company in wake of 2013 sit-in

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

Company responses Non-responses
Final reminder: UN Forum on Business & Human Rights parallel event proposals (due 31 Jul)

Final reminder: ESCR-Net Corporate Capture Project Survey (open until 31 Jul) 
also available in Arabic, French, Spanish

Call for contributions for 2nd session of UN Intergovt. Working Group on proposed treaty (deadline 1 Sep)
Forthcoming events:
  • 6th Asia Best CSR Practices Awards 2016 (5 Aug, Singapore)
  • master class: social performance in mining, oil & gas sectors (8-10 Aug, Colorado)
  • "Inside the ICAR Studio" speaker series: Motoko Aizawa (24 Aug, Washington DC, online)
  • workshop on inequality & human rights in global South (27 Aug - 3 Sep, Colombia)
  • business course on UK Modern Slavery Act (12 Sep, 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:
  • Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (2 posts: Associate Research Scholar; Legal Researcher, Natural Resources & Sustainable Development)
  • Fair Food Standards Council (3 posts: Financial Investigator; Human Rights Attorney; Human Rights Investigator)
  • ICTI CARE Foundation (Engagement Executive - Europe)
  • Impactt Limited (Impactt Project Officer)
  • RepRisk AG (Sales Manager)
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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