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Weekly Update - 30 September 2015

Lead Story
UN adopts Sustainable Development Goals: Reactions by civil society & business
  • CEOs commit to benchmark sustainable development action
  • goals are "a missed opportunity in the fight for corporate accountability" - European Coalition for Corporate Justice
  • "UN adopts Agenda 2030, but will governments follow through?" - CESR
  • "How to make the SDGs a reality? Create more pre-competitive space" - John Morrison, Institute for Human Rights and Business
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From us

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
We are inviting statements from companies in response to the refugee crisis  Climate Dialogues: New contributions to Business & Climate Justice blog series
  • John Knox, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights & environment
  • Natalie Smith, ClientEarth
  • Paul Chandler & Felicitas Weber, UN Principles for Responsible Investment
KnowTheChain initiative expands; marks 5 year anniversary of California law on human trafficking
  • KnowtheChain partners are Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Humanity United, Sustainalytics, Verité
Appeal launched by Iraqi victims of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison over dismissal of lawsuit against CACI 

The Intercept; Center for Constitutional Rights

John Ruggie & John Sherman: "Adding Human Rights Punch to the New Lex Mercatoria"
  • on the impact of the UN Guiding Principles on commercial legal practice
"Towards a legally binding instrument on business and human rights"

European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)

  • summary of European Parliament seminar
  • majority of participants acknowledged complementarity between a treaty & UN Guiding Principles
  • treaty would open new avenues for victims to hold companies accountable internationally
USA: Shell abandons Arctic drilling after "disappointing results" from exploratory well; environmental & climate change campaigners welcome move

Guardian (UK)

Tanzania: "A right to food perspective" - Report on impacts of large-scale agricultural projects on small-scale farmers in Southern Highlands

Misereor (Germany)

  • we invited the companies featured in the report to respond
    • response provided by Montara Continental (part of Obtala Resources)
    • Green Resources (owner of Sao Hill Industries) have not yet responded; we will indicate in a future update whether they do or not
    • comments from Olam Intl. & New Forests Company are included in the report
Eritrea: Former worker claims Nevsun complicit in using forced labour at its Bisha mine; company denies allegations

Thomson Reuters Foundation

So. Africa: 27 workers arrested after protesting outside mine over wages

GroundUp (So. Africa)

Guatemala: Community leader murdered after reporting toxic spill in Pasion River & 3 others detained after court orders suspension of operations

Upside Down World (Latin America)

  • we invited Reforestadora de Palmas de Petén (REPSA), part of Grupo Hame, to respond; response provided
Mexico: Community & activists raise concerns over impacts on water, community, local fishermen of Mira Companies' Tres Santos project

Counter Punch (USA); Colorado State Univ.

  • we invited Black Creek Group, 50% owner of Mira Companies, to respond; response by Mira Companies provided
USA: Over 100 investors urge legislators to support the Business Supply Chain Transparency on Trafficking and Slavery Act of 2015 

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)

Chile: MiningWatch report questions legitimacy of memorandum between Barrick Gold & Diaguita indigenous communities 
  • we invited Barrick Gold to respond; response provided
Asia & Pacific
Report raises working hours & freedom of association concerns in NXP Semiconductors' factories in Thailand & Philippines

SOMO & GoodElectronics

  • we invited NXP Semiconductors to respond; response provided
Myanmar: Sector-wide impact assessment on information & communications technology launched 

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, Institute for Human Rights and Business, Danish Institute for Human Rights

  • highlights actual & potential human rights impacts as a result of rapid growth of telecoms, internet & ICT industries
Human Rights Watch calls on US tech firms to urge India's Prime Minister Modi to end censorship & enact a privacy law
  • Modi met with tech CEOs on visit to Silicon Valley
Human rights group says Transfield Services could be liable for failing to disclose abuses at Australian off shore detention centres; company denies claims

Guardian (UK)

Indonesia: NGOs challenge paper firms’ claim that forest fires start outside suppliers’ land; Asia Pulp & Paper and APRIL (Asia Pacific Resources Intl. Ltd.) comment

Straits Times (Singapore)

Europe & Central Asia
German companies refuse to sell razor-wire for Hungary's anti-refugee fence

Independent (UK)

EU urged to require more tax transparency from firms operating in Africa to ensure they pay a fair contribution to development


Middle East & North Africa
Qatar: Govt. to introduce electronic contracts system for migrant workers in 2016

Gulf Business

  • workers will be able to read contracts in own languages to reduce the chances of being "duped" but system will not be mandatory for companies
Oman: Intl. Trade Union Confederation emphasises implementation of new labour law will be key in ensuring non-discrimination for workers

Times of Oman

Company responses Non-responses
UN Forum chair announced: Diana Chávez, Director of Latin America Support Center, UN Global Compact
  • updated draft programme & speaker biographies now available; registration open until 1 Nov.
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark consultation closes 2 Oct
  • seeking feedback from companies, investors, civil society & policymakers
  • available in EnglishFrenchPortuguese & Spanish
  • read some of the public feedback received so far
Forthcoming events:
  • OECD Roundtable: due diligence in the supply chain (Paris, 1-2 Oct)
  • consultations on UN treaty on human rights & business (online, 1-6 Oct)
  • UN Guiding Principles Compliance Lab (Copenhagen, 5 Oct)
  • John Ruggie & Kofi Annan discuss UN Guiding Principles (Vienna, 5 Oct) 
  • "Children's Rights & Business Principles" Asia event (Kuala Lumpur, 6 Oct)
  • workshops for solicitors on business & human rights (UK locations, 9-13 Oct)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
3 Internships at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - deadline for Research & Projects intern is 7 Oct

Other current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
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