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Weekly Update - 8 February 2017

Lead Story
Honduras: Global Witness exposes killings & attacks against environmental & human rights defenders
  • finds more than 120 people have died since 2010; includes advocates for rights affected by dams, mines, logging & agriculture
  • includes recommendations for Honduran Govt., US aid & investment policy, foreign investors & intl. financial institutions
  • Global Witness invited companies & actors to comment on two-year investigation
  • Honduran authorities threaten Global Witness with legal action over report
(Photo credit: Global Witness)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Op-ed: "100,000 may have died but there is still no justice over Indonesian air pollution"

Elodie Aba & Bobbie Sta. Maria, on Guardian (UK)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre vacancies: 
UNI Global Union files OECD Guidelines complaint in Spain against Prosegur security company over alleged labour rights abuses in Colombia, Peru, India

UNI Global Union

  • complaint adds to previous allegations submitted in 2013
  • we invited Prosegur to respond; response provided (in Spanish)
"Sporting Chance White Papers": 11 papers on mega-sporting events & human rights

Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights

  • papers cover human rights issues in planning, construction, delivery, and legacy of mega-sporting events
UN Working Group on business & human rights requests information for reports to UN Human Rights Council (due 28 Feb)
  • call for information on cross-border law enforcement cooperation between States & implementation of UN Guiding Principles by small & medium enterprises
Commentary: Embracing access to medicines can be beneficial for pharmaceutical companies' business & reputation

Damiano de Felice, Access to Medicines Index, on Harvard Business Review

Commentary: How counterclaims under investment treaties can be used to enforce human rights obligations relating to corporate impacts

Naomi Briercliffe, Allen & Overy, on JD Supra (USA)

Dem. Rep. of Congo: Swedwatch calls for urgent revision of Kimberley Process to address widespread child labour in diamond supply chains
  • diamonds companies mentioned in the report include Ahrenbäcks, Engelbert, Gemma, Guldbolaget, Iduna, Schalins Ringar & Smycka
  • Engelbert & Schalins Ringar comments available; Smycka's comments addressed in report; Ahrenbäcks provided confidential comments to Swedwatch
  • we invited Gemma, Guldbolaget & Iduna to respond - Gemma & Iduna did not respond; Guldbolaget declined
Uganda: Indefinite postponement of ruling in case challenging local community's eviction to pave way for oil waste management plant

Oil in Uganda

Interview: Masaai activist explains how private investors in Tanzania restrict women's access to land & compromise livelihoods for pastoralist communities

Paine Eulalia Mako, on ILEIA

Publish What You Pay urges oil, gas & mining firms to support US law on disclosure of payments to govts. following Congressional repeal of regulations requiring transparency
  • we invited the 30 companies named to respond:
  • statements of support from Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Glencore, Goldcorp, Kosmos Energy, Newmont Mining, Rio Tinto, Total
  • 19 companies have not responded
Peru: Indigenous community blocks expansion of United Cacao’s palm oil plantation after reported land devastation; company suspended from London Stock Exchange

Rights & Resources Initiative; Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Further to last week's Update: Business reactions to US President Trump's executive order on travel restrictions
Asia & Pacific
India: "Walk a mile in their shoes" - report highlights labour abuses in leather & footwear

Society for Labour and Development & Südwind Institute

Bangladesh: Rights groups call on garment brands to take action over detained workers
  • we have invited C&A, H&M, Inditex, Gap, VF Corp to respond - to date C&A and H&M have responded
Philippines: Department of Environment & Natural Resources closes 23 mines & suspends 5; civil society groups claim victory for affected communities while industry considers legal action

Reuters (USA); Financial Times; Australian Mining; Alyansa Tigil Mina

Papua New Guinea: 119 sexual abuse survivors seek “fair and equal” compensation under Barrick Gold’s remediation program

Mining Watch Canada

  • we invited Barrick Gold to respond; response provided
Japan: Excessive overtime beyond "karoshi line" allowed in nearly all Keidanren (Business Federation) board companies

China: Labour strikes & protests spread to retail & logistics as workers in emerging sectors experience wage arrears & threats to social insurance

Financial Times

Europe & Central Asia
Sweden: Report examines export credit system's responsibilities under UN Guiding Principles; suggests principles for telecom transactions

Institute for Human Rights and Business

France: Facebook to work with media to tackle fake news & hate speech leading up to presidential election


Middle East & North Africa
Algeria: Union federation calls on government to drop charges against whistle-blower at Sonelgaz


IKEA among first companies to support initiative to provide jobs to Syrian refugees in Jordan

Financial Times

Jordan: Workers may bear the cost of setting a unified level for guest worker fees

Jordan Times

Company responses Non-responses
Reminder: 2017 UN Forum - Call for information about projects on access to remedy for business-related human rights impacts (extended to 13 Feb)

OHCHR: Call for inputs to report on bridging the gender digital divide (due: 15 Feb)

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Forthcoming events:
  • Land rights, risk & conflict in Africa (9 Feb, Dakar)
  • Conference on responsible business (14 Feb, New Delhi)
  • Launch of Global Witness report on Honduras (15 Feb, London)
  • Webinar: UK Modern Slavery Act (16 Feb)
  • Discussion: State obligations in the context of business activities (21 Feb, Geneva)
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 Vacancies:  Other current vacancies:
  • Ethical Trading Initiative (Senior Industrial Relations Advisor)
  • twentyfifty Ltd. (2 posts: Business & Human Rights/ Responsible Sourcing Consultant & Junior Social Sustainability Consultant)
  • Business for Social Responsibility (Associate for Human Rights)
  • Intl. Labour Rights Forum (Corporate Accountability Program Coordinator)
  • Assent Compliance (Corporate Social Responsibility Analyst)
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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