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Weekly Update - 1 June 2016

Lead Story
ILO Intl. Labour Conference 2016 spotlights labour rights in global supply chains        
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Videos of speakers at "Strategic Litigation on Modern Slavery in Global Value Chains" event held in London on 17 May

Help us enhance our Company Response Mechanism
  • we are inviting feedback on key questions by 7 Jun
Walk Free Foundation releases 2016 Global Slavery Index; estimates 45.8 million people trapped in modern slavery
  • 58% of world's slaves found in just 5 countries, in descending order: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan 
  • Govts. cited for strongest action are: Netherlands, USA, UK, Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Croatia, Spain, Belgium, Norway
UK: High Court rules that Zambian villagers' water contamination lawsuit against Vedanta may proceed

Guardian; Leigh Day

US judge orders labour contractor Global Horizons to pay USD 7.7 million over poor treatment of Thai migrant farm workers

EEOC; Tri-City Herald

US appeals court declines to hear lawsuit against Union Carbide for water pollution in Bhopal, India

EarthRights Intl.

Triodos Bank calls for stronger commitments by lawmakers, businesses & consumers to ensure conflict-free minerals
Dem. Rep. of Congo: Construction of Inga 3, world’s largest dam, to begin within months - could be built without environmental & social impact assessment

Intl. Rivers, Guardian (UK); BusinessDay

  • Intl. Rivers warns it could displace 35,000 people without compensation - guide for affected communities
  • World Bank funding may be cut
Tanzania: Water agency says farmers will not be compensated for crops destroyed to pave way for water project

The Citizen

  • project will be financed by European Investment Bank & French Development Agency (AFD)
Dem. Rep. of Congo: Charcoal cartel run by the FDLR rebels is destroying Virunga national park - Enough Project
Banktrack presents allegations that Drummond supported paramilitary violence in Colombia to 7 banks providing finance to the coal company
  • banks approached were: Bank of America, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, HSBC, Mizuho Financial, Wells Fargo
  • Citigroup & BNP Paribas responded with details of how they had sought to address impacts
  • statement by Drummond also provided
Panama: Indigenous people opposing Genisa´s Barro Blanco dam violently evicted; project supported by Dutch, German & Central American development banks

Centre for Intl. Environmental Law (CIEL); Rainforest Rescue

London Stock Exchange asked to investigate United Cacao over deforestation & abuses allegations in Peru

Environmental Investigation Agency; Guardian (UK)

  • company denies allegations
Asia & Pacific
India releases draft law on human trafficking - critics say it lacks teeth

Thompson Reuters; India Today; Quartz

  • 2016 Global Slavery Index says India has18 million people in forced labour
Indonesia: Hazardous child labour in tobacco farming exposed in Human Rights Watch report

Human Rights Watch; New York Times

Malaysia: Court hears case filed by Temiar people against state govt. for agreeing to turn indigenous land to an oil palm plantation


Myanmar: Brief on child labour in the garment sector aims to help businesses engage with the issue using rights-based approaches


China: Investigation at abandoned Pegatron factory for iPhone productions finds "unacceptable" living conditions; article includes company statements

MailOnline; TVBS

Europe & Central Asia
UK: Private members bill seeks amendments to Modern Slavery Act, including requiring companies to publish disclosure statements in annual report & accounts

Baroness Young of Hornsey, House of Lords

  • would also require:
    • govt. to publish a list of organizations obliged to publish a statement
    • contracting authorities to exclude entities who have not provided a slavery & human trafficking statement from procurement procedures
Proposed expansion of Investor State Dispute Settlement Mechanisms in Europe would minimise citizens' rights, warn advocates​

Friends of the Earth Europe

European Commission & IT companies announce code of conduct to combat online hate speech while protecting freedom of expression
  • companies involved in initiative are: Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter & YouTube (part of Google)
Middle East & North Africa
Case of UAE buying commercial spyware to crackdown on activists reflects broader trend - New York Times

Egypt: Habi Center welcomes initial response from Environmental Affairs Agency to request regarding use of coal
Company responses Non-responses
Reminder - Call for comments: "What would you put in a treaty on human rights & business?" (open until 3 June)

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

Forthcoming events:
  • seminar: doing business differently for children (6 Jun, London)
  • corporate responsibility & human rights - challenges & opportunities (7 Jun, Rome)
  • 2016 Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct (8-9 Jun, Paris)
  • environmental justice in Latin America (8 Jun, Berkeley)
  • intl. conference on social impacts of supply chains (13-15 Jun, Cambridge, MA)
  • 2016 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk (13 Jun, 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: 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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