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Weekly Update - 13 August 2014

Lead Story
Letter to Thai Pineapple Industry Association signed by 101 organizations - asks it to urge its member, Natural Fruit, to drop cases filed against human rights defender Andy Hall

Signatories include Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Finnwatch, Human Rights Watch, Intl. Labor Rights Forum, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, State Enterprise Workers' Relations Confederation Thailand, Trades Union Congress UK

  • Hall faces criminal & civil charges brought by Natural Fruit for his work on a report alleging serious rights abuses at the company’s factory
  • full text of letter & press release provided
  • also provided: non-official Thai translation of letter 

Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East &
North Africa

Human Rights Watch calls for more accountability to ensure technology sold to govts. is not used to abuse human rights


Discussion hosted by ESCR-Net Monitoring Working Group on benefits & drawbacks of indexes measuring economic, social & cultural rights
  • includes discussion of measurements of ESC rights impacts of business by Damiano de Felice & Irene Pietropaoli
Niger: Call for protection of human rights defenders seeking greater transparency & fairness between govt. & extractive industries - several arrested in July

Association Nigérienne de Défense des Droits de L'Homme, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Global Witness, Observatory for Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and 20 other intl. & African NGOs

Nigerian Govt. & Shell's failure to implement UNEP recommendations continues to compromise Ogoniland communities' rights, says report

Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth Europe, Platform & CEHRD

  • we invited Shell to respond; response provided
Côte d'Ivoire: Fair Labor Association assesses child labour in Nestlé's supply chain
  • includes comments on report by Nestlé
So. Africa: Lonmin unveils share ownership scheme it says will empower local community

Business Day (So. Africa)

Working Paper says G8's initiative on food security in Africa, which involves corporations, "disregards fundamental principles of participation & accountability to human rights"

Brot für die Welt, MISEREOR & Global Policy Forum 

Briefing says deployment of military to protect oil installations in Somaliland could escalate conflict between autonomous regions


African govts. appeal to rich nations to help stem tax evasion & illicit outflows of capital by multinationals

Thomson Reuters Foundation

US Court decision to dismiss lawsuit against Chiquita shows difficulties faced by victims seeking to hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses abroad, says academic

Lauren Carasik, Western New England University School of Law, in Al Jazeera America

  • suit was brought by 4000 Colombians over deaths of relatives killed in civil war
Brazil: Govt. commission finds documents suggesting companies aided Brazil military govt.; includes company statements


  • commission is investigating abuses during Brazil's 1964-1985 dictatorship
  • refers to Chrysler (now part of Fiat Chrysler), Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Rapistan (part of Dematic Group), Toyota, Volkswagen Brazil
Honduras: Grupo Agrolibano & union collaborate to reduce health & occupational risks to workers

Fairfood Intl.

Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia (OIDHACO) & Transnational Institute say Colombia's Fair Trade Agreement with the European Union has failed to deliver human rights improvements
  • agreement included provisions that NGOs say "were presented as tools for the protection of human rights"
Dominican Rep.: New country guide on business & human rights by Danish Institute for Human Rights highlights risks and trends

Canada: Mining association says investigation findings re toxic spill from Imperial Metals mine could lead to changes for entire industry

Globe and Mail (Canada)

USA: Barneys pays $525,000 to settle allegations re profiling minority customers; includes company comments

Associated Press

Asia & Pacific
NXP Semiconductors, reportedly a supplier to Apple, accused of anti-trade union activities in the Philippines


  • company alleged to have dismissed 24 union officials to undermine collective power of union
  • IndustriALL calls on Apple to intervene
  • we invited NXP & Apple to respond - NXP response provided; Apple did not respond
  • IndustriALL has notified us that it is preparing a rejoinder to NXP's response 
Residents protest against Vale Indonesia for environmental & livelihood impacts of oil spill; company says it is open to discussion (Indonesia)

Australia: Companies to be liable for sexual harassment by employees even if it happens outside workplace, following court decision

Age (Australia)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre appeals to ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights: make study on CSR and human rights publicly available
  • commission representative subsequently says study will be made public
India: Govt. dilutes environmental, tribal rights protections for industrial projects

Business Standard

Cambodia: Grandis Timber praised for allowing communities to live within its land concession & providing work opportunities

Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia)

Japan/Korea: Video interview of Prof. Chip Pitts, Stanford Law School, on trends towards greater accountability for forced labour & sexual slavery during World War II

Arirang Video on Demand

Europe & Central Asia
Armenia: Environmentalists fear Meghrasar open pit gold mining project may harm environment & local people’s health

EcoLur Network

  • Russian language version also provided: Армения: Экологи обеспокоены, что проект открытой эксплуатации Меграсарского золотого месторождения может нанести вред окружающей среде и здоровью местного населения
Netherlands: Natl. human rights institution comments on Dutch Natl. Action Plan on business & human rights

Netherlands Institute for Human Rights

  • says govt. is on "right track, but...content of the action plan is not sufficient to implement" Guiding Principles
Sweden: Sami livelihoods, based on herding reindeer, allegedly threatened by Beowulf's proposed mining project; includes company comments


UK: Fawcett Society research exposes discrimination facing new mothers on their return to workplace

Independent (UK)

Bulgaria: 10 injured in explosion at TEREM ammunition plant - govt. launches investigation


UK: HSBC accused of discrimination after closing accounts of Syrian clients; includes company comments

Independent (UK)

Ukraine: 18 injured in explosion at Pokrovskoye mine (only available in Russian)


Middle East & North Africa
Morocco/Western Sahara: Human rights advocates concerned increased oil exploration may fuel unrest among local Sahrawis

Time (USA) 

Company responses Non-responses
Reminder: UN Working Group seeks input in online consultation re guidance on national action plans to implement UN Guiding Principles (due 1 Sep)
Forthcoming events:
  • socially responsible and sustainable business courses (online)
  • conference: arts, education and research (Melbourne, 15 Aug)
  • workshop addressing adverse human rights impacts (Melbourne, 25 Aug)
  • conference on ecological sustainability and social equity (Leipzig, 2 Sep)
  • "The Hague Conference on Business and Human Security" (The Hague, 2 Sep)
  • due diligence in the private security industry - webinar (9 Sep)
  • corporations, global food system and human rights (Oslo, 11-12 Sep)
  • workshop: practical guide to business and human rights (London, 17 Sep)
  • conference on corporate social responsibility and the legal profession (London,18-19 Sep)
  • capacity-building workshop on business & human rights in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, 18-19 Aug)
  • course on implementation of UNGPs by businesses (Frankfurt, 23 Sep)
  • business engagement workshop on IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (Washington DC, 25 Sep) 
  • training course on stakeholder engagement (Frankfurt, 25 Sep)
  • course on preventing community conflict (Barcelona, 1 Oct)
  • "International Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion and Tax Justice" (Barcelona, 2-3 Oct)
  • short course on business, conflict and peace (Basel, 6-10 Oct)
We are a recruiting a Middle East & North Africa Researcher (deadline 31 Aug) and a Corporate Accountability and Communications Officer (deadline 28 Aug)

Current vacancies:
Argentina: ONG CEDHA presenta documento a legisladores sobre los impactos sociales y ambientales del “fracking”, en referencia a propuesta ley de hidrocarburos no-convencionales

Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (CEDHA)

Colombia: Empresa de seguridad y equipos militares Eagle Commercial cuestionada por la venta de armas con electrochoques que constituirían tortura

El Espectador

Chile: Corte Suprema de Justicia acoge recurso de protección para frenar proyecto minero de South American Iron & Steel por impactos culturales y ambientales

Diario El Centro

Perú: Justicia ordena a Doe Run pagar multa por incumplir remediación a daños ambientales y sociales en La Oroya

Chile: Comunidades piden a autoridades ambientales revocar la resolución de calificación ambiental a proyecto “Pascua Lama” de Barrick Gold 

Asamblea Guasco Alto Comunicaciones – Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales, OLCA

Colombia: Red europea de ONG sostiene que el Tratado de Libre Comercio con la Unión Europea no ha mejorado las condiciones de derechos humanos en el país

Perú: Autoridades investigarán utilización de trabajo infantil en minería ilegal en la Amazonía

Agencia de Noticias Andina

México: Autoridades laborales destacan a diez empresas agrícolas en Chiapas por estar “libres de trabajo infantil”

El Péndulo de Chiapas

México: Encuentro anual del Pacto Mundial - "Construcción de la agenda de desarrollo post-2015: la aportación del sector privado" (Ciudad de México, 19 agosto)

Chile: Acción señala que sólo una ínfima parte de empresas presentan reportes de sostenibilidad

El Dínamo (Chile) 

Rép. dém. du Congo : Un nouveau rapport soulève des inquiétudes concernant le fonds social communautaire de Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM)

ACIDH (Rép. dém. du Congo)

  • Parmi les inquiétudes principales :  la question de la participation effective des communautés, la représentativité des organes du FSC et le manque de redevabilité des représentants vis-à-vis les représentés.
  • TFM est une joint venture de Freeport-McMoRan, Lundin Mining et Gécamines.
  • Nous avons invité TFM à répondre ; réponse disponible.
Niger : Appel pour la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’homme qui réclament plus de transparence et d’équité dans les relations entre l’Etat et les industries extractives

Association Nigérienne de Défense des Droits de L'Homme, Centre de Ressources sur les Entreprises et les Droits de l'Homme, Global Witness, Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, et 21 autres ONG internationales et africaines

  •  Des activistes ont été arrêtés en juillet lors de la visite de François Hollande.
Canada : Un déversement d’eaux usées toxiques d'une mine exploitée par Imperial Metals privent des habitants de la Colombie-Britannique et leur bétail d’eau potable

 AFP, Le Monde (France)

Pérou : Une famille se bat contre son expulsion pour faire place au projet minier Conga

Le Monde (France)

Les entreprises souhaitent des indicateurs plus « pertinents » pour remplir leur obligation de reporting environnemental et social, selon une enquête

Novethic (France)

Débat sur l'évasion fiscale et les droits de l'homme (Jersey, 12 septembre)

Sénégal : Teranga Gold présente à travers son rapport RSE 2013 sa contribution à l'économie nationale et au développement local

Agence de Presse Sénégalaise (APS)

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