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Weekly Update - 14 October 2015

Lead Story
"Who Owns the World’s Land? A global baseline of formally recognized indigenous & community land rights"

Rights and Resources Initiative

(Photo credit: Kilobug)
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa
From us

From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Briefing note: "Gaps & Opportunities for Germany in Business & Human Rights"
  • key findings include: 92 percent of allegations against German companies that we sought responses to occurred abroad;
  • more than a third of allegations were linked to supply chains or business relationships;
  • more than a third of allegations involved either the clothing sector (re labour rights) or technology sector (re right to privacy)
  • also available in German
"A message about human rights to potential buyers of Formula 1"

Ken Roth, Human Rights Watch and Phil Bloomer, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, in letter to the Guardian (UK)

How are companies responding to the refugee crisis in Europe?
Report by coalition of companies makes business case for LGB&T inclusion

"Open For Business" coalition: AT&T, American Express, Brunswick, EY, Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Linklaters, Mastercard, McKinsey, RBS, Standard Chartered, Thomson Reuters, Virgin

  • report details economic opportunities of LGB&T inclusion; business risks of operating in environments with discrimination against LGB&T individuals
Civil society orgs. call on Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative to consider climate risks in reporting standards for oil, gas & coal

DIW Berlin, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, European Climate Foundation & others

USA & Pacific Rim nations agree trade deal; critics warn it prioritises "rights" of companies over workers, the environment & democracy

Nation (USA); New York Times; Guardian (UK)

"Principles for Responsible Contracts: Guidance for Negotiators" now available in booklet form

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • identifies 10 key principles to help integrate human rights risk management into contract negotiations between govts. & foreign investors
Novo Nordisk explains how it will integrate UN Sustainable Development Goals into its activities

GreenBiz (USA)

Giant precious metal refiner Valcambi "purchases gold extracted by children" in Burkina Faso, smuggled via Togo, says NGO report

Berne Declaration

  • response by Valcambi & rejoinder by Berne Declaration
  • we invited Valcambi to respond further; it responded announcing changes to its supply chain due diligence practices
  • we also invited Ammar Group to respond; we will indicate in a future Update if it responds
Uganda: Families whose lands were demarcated for resettlement for oil refinery construction protest delay in relocation

Oil in Uganda

So. Africa: Thousands of Wits Univ. students & staff protest against the institution's "exploitative" outsourcing practices

Mail & Guardian (So. Africa)

  • univ. workers allege outsourcing to private companies has led to cuts in wages & benefits
Nicaragua: Protest against B2Gold's El Limón mine results in one policeman dead & several other people injured; firm halts operations

Canadian Press

Brazil: NGO Repórter Brasil website hacked; investigative articles on forced labour changed or deleted

Repórter Brasil

  • NGO alleges digital attack is part of a campaign against their work combating forced labour
USA: California becomes first state to codify definition of crimes against humanity & address accountability for serious human rights abuses

EarthRights Intl.

  • bill also extends time for filing human trafficking claims
Asia & Pacific
Greenpeace calls on Thai Union Group to reject fishing practices that abuse human rights & harm environment; workers report beatings & forced labour
  • we invited the company to respond; response provided
IndustriALL files ILO complaint against Thailand for failing to guarantee freedom of association & right to collective bargaining


  • complaint cites 18 cases of worker & labour rights abuses
Myanmar: Han Jen factory workers on hunger strike over pay cuts & unpaid salaries following establishment of natl. minimum wage

Myanmar Times

  • we invited the company to respond; it did not
No Business in Abuse: Campaign on corporate complicity in abuses within Australia's immigration system

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)

  • campaign highlights child abuse in detention centres operated by Transfield Services; company response available
Bangladesh: UK National Contact Point issues follow-up statement regarding complaint against GCM Resources over Phulbari coal project

Cultural Survival; GCM Resources; UK National Contact Point

  • concerns about project include: displacement; lack of free, prior & informed consent; deaths & injuries during protests
Europe & Central Asia
EU announces 3 million EUR support for fund to improve working conditions & labour standards in producing countries

European Commission

NGO alleges TeliaSonera pulls out of Eurasia market because of corruption scandals in Azerbaijan & Uzbekistan

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

  • corruption allegations include supporting govts. linked to human rights abuses
  • we invited TeliaSonera to respond; response provided
UK: Company directors could be held liable for failing to address climate change, says ClientEarth

James Thornton, ClientEarth, on Guardian (UK)

Middle East & North Africa
Saudi Arabia to implement new labour law with provisions to strengthen workers' rights

Al Arabiya (UAE)

Algeria: Commentary - social & climate change impacts of shale gas extraction unequally distributed

Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade (EJOLT)

  • case study also refers to repression of protesters
Company responses Non-responses
Registration for UN Forum on Business and Human Rights open until 1 Nov
  • latest speakers list & programme also provided
  • Twitter hashtag: #bizhumanrights
Registration open: Multistakeholder consultation on Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Accountability and Remedy Project (Geneva, 19-20 Nov)

Feedback invited by 23 October on "OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector"
Forthcoming events:
  • discussion on safe & sustainable supply chains (New York, 15 Oct)
  • panel debate on implementing the SDGs (Geneva, 16 Oct)
  • "Ethical Trade and Human Rights Forum" (London, 19-20 Oct)
  • webinar on land rights & the role of business (online, 20 Oct)
  • impacts of natural resource extraction on women's rights (London, 26 Oct)
  • "Peoples' Forum on Human Rights and Business 2015" (Nairobi, 26-30 Oct)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
2 Internships at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - deadline for Legal Research intern is 18 Oct

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