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Weekly Update - 11 May 2016

Lead Story
Access Now writes to 10 tech & telecom firms urging action on digital rights
  • outlines steps to improve disclosures on policies & practices to safeguard digital rights
  • letter draws on each company's position in the Ranking Digital Rights index
  • we invited the companies to respond: responses so far from Axiata, Kakao,, MTN, Orange, Vodafone
  • America Movil, Bharti Airtel, Etisalat and Tencent have not yet responded – we will indicate in a future Update if they respond

(photo credit: Access Now)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Workshop report: "Migrant workers and the risk of trafficking and exploitation in Jordan," Amman, 20-21 April

Workshop co-organized by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Tamkeen, UNODC

Blog: "A critical juncture: Syrian refugees and migrant workers in Jordan"

Annabel Short, Deputy Director

Event: "Strategic Litigation on Modern Slavery in Global Value Chains" (17 May, London - please RSVP)

Guest blog: "Conflict minerals: Europe must finally take responsibility"

Peter Knobloch, Christian Initiative Romero

Job vacancy: China Researcher & Representative
  • based in Beijing; deadline 23 May
UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) asks Switzerland to investigate impacts of country’s tax policies on women’s rights

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU School of Law

Leadership group launches to promote ethical recruitment in global supply chains
  • participating companies are Coca-Cola, HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IKEA, Unilever - with support from Institute for Human Rights and Business, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Intl. Organization for Migration and Verite
Institute for Human Rights and Business releases briefings on forced labour & recruitment fees

US judge dismisses lawsuit against Children's Place, J.C. Penney, Walmart over Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh

Triple Pundit; Associated Press

New "Model Mining Law" launched in Kenya that aims to reduce conflicts between investors & locals

Daily Nation (Kenya)

  • law draws on case studies from Angola, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Kenya, So. Africa, Zimbabwe
Kenya: Disabled passenger alleges discrimination by Fly540 personnel; airline refutes allegations

Zimbabwe: Report finds gaps in retail & banking firms' implementation of UN Guiding Principles on business & human rights

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association & Danish Institute for Human Rights

First People's Worldwide issues "Risk Alert" on Sempra Energy regarding indigenous rights in Sonora, Mexico, and major gas leak in California, USA
  • we invited Sempra Energy to respond to both cases - responses provided
Mexico: Indigenous communities resisting highway construction accuse police & Grupo Higa of forced displacement & destruction of property

SinEmbargo; Global Voices; Masde131

  • we invited Grupo Higa to respond – it did not
Bloomberg launches Gender Equality Index to provide investors with data on companies’ gender equality policies


Asia & Pacific
Cambodia: NGOs oppose Mitr Phol’s re-admission to sustainable sugar group, cite failure to address rights abuse including forced displacement

Cambodia Daily; Inclusive Development Intl.

  • we invited Mitr Phol to respond - response provided
Thailand: Call for end to harassment of business & human rights activists, cite “worrying trend” of defamation charges

Campaign for Public Policy on Mineral Resources, Community Resource Centre Foundation, Fortify Rights and others

More than 100 Tibetans protest over pollution by Chinese mining operations

Tibet Post Intl.

Vietnam: Fish deaths blamed on Formosa Plastics put fisherfolk out of work, spark rare protests

Reuters; Intl. Business Times; Tuoitrenews

  • Formosa denies wrong-doing; results of inspection by delegation of experts is pending
China: 14 year-old working at Foshan Zhiya Underwear factory found dead

Xinhua, translated by China Labor Watch

Europe & Central Asia
Ergon releases 2nd analysis of current disclosure under UK Modern Slavery Act: Reviews 230 company statements

Ergon Associates

UK: Climate protest at Miller Argent-run mine halts operations

Guardian (UK)

Middle East & North Africa
Saudi Arabia: Workers protest over unpaid wages & job cuts by Saudi Binladin Group, govt. responds

Reuters; Al Arabiya English; Independent (UK); WSJ

Turkey: "From war to sweatshop for Syria's child refugees"

Guardian (UK)

Company responses Non-responses
Call for comments: "What would you put in a treaty on human rights & business?" (open until 31 May)

ESCR-Net and Intl. Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Righting Remedy survey on judicial & non-judicial practitioner collaboration to support victims of corporate human rights abuse

Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and Centre for Research on Multi-natl. Corps. (SOMO)

Forthcoming events:
  • women's rights, business & the law (11 May, Miami)
  • workshop on impact of UK Modern Slavery Act (12 & 17 May, London)
  • conference on responsible business & human rights (18-19 May, Copenhagen)
  • 'GRI Global Conference 2016' (18-20 May, Amsterdam)
  • public health, human rights, implications for business (19 May, Venice)
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:  
We take no position on views by commentators, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
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