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Weekly Update - 31 August 2016

Lead Story
Mexico: NGOs document over 60 cases of alleged corporate abuse, in advance of UN Working Group visit

documentation by over 100 NGOs and social movements in Mexico / compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • most frequently-occuring alleged abuses relate to land rights, access to information, right to health & environmental damage
  • over half the cases involve intimidation & threats against human rights defenders or communities
  • company responses to the cases included when available; we have invited additional companies to respond

Photo credit: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
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From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
540 company statements available on enhanced registry, more added daily
  • statements can be explored by sector and country of HQ in an interactive dashboard
  • as first deadline for companies approaches, concerns that many statements do not meet even minimum requirements continue
  • better practice: a handful of statements provide detailed information on supply chain transparency & modern slavery risks
KnowTheChain: 36 out of 60 companies disclose additional information on their steps to address forced labour in the supply chain
  • 80% of apparel companies, but only 45% of food & beverage companies provided detailed information when invited
  • response rate by European companies highest (77%)
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German court grants legal aid to victims of Pakistan factory fire in their lawsuit against KiK

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights & Medico Intl.

Commentaries: Potential impacts of US Court decision in Chevron case on other lawsuits over abuses abroad Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment raises concerns about World Bank tribunal's refusal to accept its submission in Bear Creek Mining lawsuit

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment; Law 360

  • lawsuit challenges Peru's decision to rescind project permit due to impacts on indigenous peoples
  • tribunal accepted submissions from others including Association of Human Rights and Environment of Puno
Angola: Bicuar security guards hired by Sociedade Mineira do Cuango allegedly torture miners

Maka Angola; Global Voices Online

  • we invited Endiama, ITM Mining, Sociedade Mineira do Cuango to respond - Sociedade Mineira do Cuango responded; Endiama, ITM Mining did not
Malawi: Report raises concerns over mining impacts, including workers' safety & lack of community consultation

Institute for Community Mobilization and Empowerment, Norwegian Church Aid

  • we invited Mkango Resources & Nyala Mines to respond - responses provided; we will indicate in a future update whether Eland Coal Mine responds
Kenya: Mine owner searched women mine workers' genitals for "hidden gemstones"

Daily Nation (Kenya)

  • Kenya National Commission on Human Rights conducts inquiry into sexual harassment & other human rights abuses, charges brought
Panama: Indigenous communities inundated by Barro Blanco dam; President signs formal agreement with indigenous chief while community members say they were not consulted

Intercontinental Cry (Canada)

Guatemala: Mayan lawyers' strategic litigation advances indigenous rights; cases include extractive industries, dams & agriculture

Intercontinental Cry (Canada)

Brazil: Intl. Trade Union Confederation & trade unions denounce interim govts.' "offensive against workers' rights"
Asia & Pacific
Civil society groups highlight human rights challenges in Laos as it hosts ASEAN Summit; includes brief on “high costs of foreign investment”

Focus on the Global South, Civil Rights Defenders, Mekong Watch, FIDH, Sombath Initiative, Intl. Commission of Jurists

Bangladesh: 250 people fall ill after toxic gas leak at Bangladesh Chemical Industries Co. fertiliser unit; company opens investigation

Press Trust of India

India: Report finds working conditions at Rainforest Alliance certified tea estates have improved, but more needs to be done

Glocal Research & India Committee of the Netherlands

  • areas for improvement include freedom of association, benefits for casual workers, personal protection equipment
  • includes response by Unilever
Australia: Westfarmers urges supermarkets to sign up to Voluntary Tax Transparency Code

Sydney Morning Herald

Myanmar: Labour officials to assist workers in suing Hla Won Htet Tha factory over benefit claims

Myanmar Times

Europe & Central Asia
EU Commission orders Ireland to recoup 11 billion GBP from Apple over "sweetheart" tax deal

Independent (UK)

Armenia: Local residents raise concerns over health hazards posed by Geghanush tailing dump, owned by Polymetal Intl.

EcoLur Network (Armenia)

  • we invited Polymetal Intl. to respond - response provided
Middle East & North Africa
Egypt: Intl. Finance Corporation Ombudsman to investigate whether financing of Titan Cement is compatible with IFC environmental & social requirements
  • we invited Titan Cement to respond - response provided
Construction firm Balfour Beatty slow to remedy migrant worker abuse in Qatar operations

Guardian (UK)

Company responses Non-responses
Registration open for 2016 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights (14-16 Nov, Geneva)
Forthcoming events:
  • identifying & responding to child labour in supply chains (6 Sep, London)
  • conference: prevention of trafficking for labour exploitation (7-8 Sep, Berlin)
  • access to remedy for corporate human rights abuses (8 Sep, Brussels)
  • workshop for businesses on Modern Slavery Act (12 Sep, London)
  • Intl. Maritime Human Rights Conference (14 Sep, London)
  • Intl. Tax Conference 2016 (15 Sep, Jakarta)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Current vacancies:
  • CORE Coalition (Advocacy & Communications Manager)
  • Ethical Trading Initiative (Membership Services Manager)
  • OECD (Consultant, Natl. Contact Points peer reviews)
  • Oxfam (Private Sector Policy Adviser, Labour Rights)
  • UNICEF UK (Children's Rights & Sports Specialist)
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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