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Weekly Update - 16 December 2015

Lead Story
"Above the Law? Time to hold irresponsible companies to account" - report calls on UK Govt. to implement laws to hold business accountable for human rights abuses abroad

Traidcraft & CORE Coalition; Financial Times blog

Traidcraft Above the Law? Time to hold irresponsible companies to account
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Corporate Human Rights Benchmark Consultation Summary Report
  • contains key insights & revised approach
Guest Blog: It's time for companies to bring tax into their human rights due diligence

Action Aid, Christian Aid & Oxfam

Post Paris climate talks, how to take charge through climate litigation

Sif Thorgeirsson & Ciara Dowd, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Business & civil society reactions to Paris climate agreement

Union briefing for investors alleges Rio Tinto's use of short-term contacts & precarious terms of employment discourages workers from advocating for trade union rights & puts their safety at risk


  • cites examples in Australia, Canada, Madagascar, Namibia
  • we invited Rio Tinto to respond - response provided
Puvan Selvanathan resigns from UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
  • see further details in his open letter
Paper: "Human Rights Defenders and Business - Searching for Common Ground"

Institute for Human Rights and Business, Civil Rights Defenders & Front Line Defenders

  • includes profiles on human rights defenders from Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, India, Kenya, Morocco, Myanmar, Peru, Russia 
Former UN Special Representative John Ruggie to develop recommendations for FIFA on implementing UN Guiding Principles

Harvard Kennedy School; FIFA; Shift, Wall Street Journal, Guardian (UK)

  • Ruggie says this work can "set the bar" for other global sports organizations
  • due to deliver report & recommendations in March 2016
Community sues Kenya Pipeline Company after oil spill allegedly polluted water supply causing lead poisoning, killing crops & livestock

Business Daily (Kenya)

So. Africa: Gold miner silicosis litigation - the complicated compensation system & why miners turned to the courts

Mineweb (So. Africa)

Ghana: Local salt miners clash with Indian salt company over loss of livelihoods, lack of prior consultation  


Mexico: Workers protest against alleged labour abuses & harassment in 'maquilas' in Ciudad Juarez

The Nation (USA); Cereal; GoodElectronics Network; Fnsnews

  • we invited CommScope, Eaton, Foxconn & Lexmark to respond
  • CommScope, Lexmark responses provided
  • we will indicate in a future Update whether Eaton, Foxconn respond
USA: ABM, largest janitorial firm, to conduct external review of rape claims by employees after settling lawsuit

Center for Investigative Reporting, on PBS Frontline (USA)

Colombia: La Llanada gold mines certified as ethical & environmentally friendly by Fairmined


Asia & Pacific
Indonesia: Al Jazeera tracks down companies accused of being behind plantation fires that have caused an environmental & health crisis
  • uncovers links to global brands
Thailand: Investigation finds enslaved migrants & children in shrimp processing factories supplying US & European markets

Associated Press

  • lists shrimp brands & supermarkets linked to "tainted supply chains"
Papua New Guinea: Columbia & Harvard human rights clinics find deficiencies with remedies given by Barrick Gold to victims of sexual abuse in Porgera
  • we invited Barrick Gold to respond - response provided
Bangladesh: Why the time is right for improving factory conditions & what can be done to protect workers

Sarah Labowitz, Co-director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights (USA)

China: Beijing city govt. issues first-ever red smog alert - coal-burning & heavy industry cited as major sources of pollutants

Intl. Business Times; China Dialogue

Europe & Central Asia
Ireland publishes working outline of Natl. Action Plan on Business & Human Rights

Ukraine: Hazardous waste still allegedly several thousand times over legal limit despite supposed clean-up by S.I. Group Consort; firm denies allegations

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

UK: Sports Direct share price falls after Guardian investigation reveals poor working conditions - article includes company comments
Middle East & North Africa
FIFA urge Qatar 2022 to speed up labour reform process at second Organising Committee meeting

Inside the Games

Western Sahara: Norway's KLP Pension Fund divests from Glencore over concerns its activities in disputed region breach intl. law


Company responses Non-responses
Request for feedback on UN Forum on Business & Human Rights (deadline: 20 Dec)
Forthcoming events:
  • course on human rights & Asia, incl. business & human rights (4-15 Jan, Seoul)
  • human rights law & the extractive industries (18-19 Feb, Panama City)
  • Sedex 2016: "Simplifying Supply Chain Sustainability" (2-3 Mar, London)
  • compliance lab on UN Guiding Principles (8 Mar, Copenhagen)
  • forum: how to build supply security with smallholder farmers (22-23 Mar, 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:
Copyright © 2015 Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, All rights reserved.

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