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Weekly Update - 30 July 2014

Lead Story

World Bank's draft safeguards drastically weaken social, environmental protection, say civil society groups
  • policy fails to sufficiently address land rights & rights of indigenous people
  • over 100 civil society groups & individuals sign joint statement; Human Rights Watch, Bank on Human Rights, Forest Peoples Programme also raise concerns
  • also provided: World Bank draft safeguards
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Lawsuits against Chiquita & CACI: US appeals courts issue conflicting rulings on companies' liability for extraterritorial human rights impacts

Lawfare (USA), Reuters

  • Chiquita wins dismissal of lawsuits brought by 4000 Colombians over deaths of relatives killed in civil war - court rules events lacked sufficient connection with USA
  • Earth Rights Intl. says decision "delays Justice for victims of paramilitary violence in Colombia"
  • former Abu Ghraib prisoners who claimed torture by CACI employees allowed to continue case after panel concluded claims did “touch and concern” territory of USA
General Mills is 1st major food company to commit to decrease emissions across operations & supply chain to reduce human impact on climate change

Guardian Sustainable Business (UK); Oxfam

  • Follows campaign by Oxfam - Oxfam calls on Kellogg's to follow suit
UN report "The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age"; asserts that tech companies may be complicit in human rights abuses, cites UN Guiding Principles
  • also provided: Commentaries by Jonathan Horowitz (Open Society Justice Initiative) and Sarah Knuckey (Columbia Law School), and by Human Rights Watch
UK MPs highlight how UK firms are "acting as enablers for corrupt deals in developing countries" leading to negative social impacts

Catherine McKinnell MP & Anas Sarwar MP, co-Chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption, Guardian (UK)

Latest news on binding treaty on business & human rights (only available in Portuguese)
  • compilation of articles on corporate legal accountability & human rights (Compilação de artigos sobre responsabilidade jurídica das empresas com relação a direitos humanos)
Major Sporting Events: Organising committees of major sporting events should follow Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games' human rights commitment (commentary)

Institute for Human Rights and Business

Further to our Weekly Update of 16 July: Dominion Farms did not respond to ActionAid report on land grabs
52 African civil society groups call for investment that protects human rights, in advance of U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (5-6 Aug)

Commentary: Oil fueling conflict in South Sudan

Sudan Vision

Publish What You Pay official urges Uganda to join Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Uganda: Monitor Publications' partnership offers free Hepatitis B tests & subsidised vaccines

Daily Monitor (Uganda)

Tanzania Women's Bank project aims to help women secure plots with title deeds - says it will help female entrepreneurs access loans & build businesses

East African Business Week (Uganda)

British Airways to be sued over claims of sexual abuse by pilot in E. Africa; includes company's comments


USA: Twitter acknowledges lack of women & minorities in its workforce & vows "to change its ways”

Associated Press

Dozens of NGOs sign statement in response to US Supreme Court decision, saying that Argentina 'vulture fund' ruling represents global human rights threat

Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), and others

Peru: Civil society groups say new environmental law weakens protection, risks sparking social conflict

Associated Press

Brazil: Justice authorities to take action against clothes retailer, M.Officer, over alleged slave labour - includes company statement (only available in Portuguese)

Repórter Brasil

  • Brasil: Justiça é acionada para que M. Officer seja banida de São Paulo por escravidão; inclui nota da empresa 
Asia & Pacific
Myanmar: Govt. passes law on ILO Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour; pledges to implement ban on child labour by December


“Transparency in Myanmar Enterprises” report 

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business 

  • reviews information published by 60 large Myanmar firms
  • finds 25 are not at all transparent; companies scored fewest points in the areas of human rights (including land acquisition) and Health, Safety & Environment
India: Report calls for greater transparency from garment brands on tackling bonded labour in South India suppliers

FNV Mondiaal; India Committee of the Netherlands

  • 8 companies responded to the report authors: HEMA, Impala Loft, Migros, O'Neill Europe, PVH/Tommy Hilfiger, Scotch & Soda, Van den Broek, Zeeman
  • we invited 11 additional firms named in the report to respond.  Ikea, LPP, Sorbo Fashion responded. Abercrombie & Fitch, Carodel, Crew Clothing, Kiddo Fashion, Teidem, TDP Textiles & Tumble & Dry, Walmart, have not yet responded.
Guest blog: "Business and Human Rights - A Tale of Three Workshops in India"

Surya Deva, Univ. of Hong Kong

  • a "significant under-privileged section of society has no effective voice", regarding business impacts that affect them
Workshop on business & human rights in Odisha, India: Videos now on our YouTube page

"Bangladesh can look to this unlikely place to fix its garment sector"

Sarah Labowitz, co-Director of Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU Stern, in Quartz

  • draws lessons from Detroit USA, on fixing dangerous, dilapidated buildings
Bangladesh: Matalan chooses not to donate to ILO-backed Rana Plaza compensation fund; says it has funded another scheme

Guardian (UK)

So. Korea: Appellate court upholds "zero tolerance" sexual harassment policy in case against Samsung Card executive

Korea Herald 

Japan: Calls for stronger representation of women in managerial positions

Tokyo Web

  • in 2013 only 7.5% of managers in the private sector were women
  • (English language summary by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre of Japanese article)
Philippines: As President delivers State of the Nation address, indigenous peoples present their "true state" – highlights human rights impacts of extractives & plantations (Philippines)

Malaysia: Air quality around Kuala Lumpur reaches unhealthy levels; palm oil firms using cheap burning methods blamed


Europe & Central Asia
EU Commission President openly opposes inclusion of "Investor to State Dispute Settlement" tribunal in EU-US trade agreement

Both ENDS (The Netherlands)

EU Commission's public consultation on corporate social responsibility strategy: closes 15 Aug
  • public survey available in English, French, Spanish, Polish, Italian and German
UK: Vodafone chairman promises to engage with govt. to protect customers' right to privacy

Guardian (UK)

Shift analyses rise in reporting requirements for companies after release of UK’s Financial Reporting Council "Guidance on Strategic Reporting"
  • also provided: Financial Reporting Council guidance on strategic report; study on costs of company-community conflict in extractive sector by Harvard Kennedy School, Shift, Univ. of Queensland
New good practice note endorsed by UN Global Compact Working Group: "Organizing the Human Rights Function within a Company"

Shift, UN Global Compact 

Middle East & North Africa
Turkish union lodges complaint at ILO against Turkish Govt. after govt. postpones strike by glass workers

IndustriALL, Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey)

Animation video "Slavery and the Qatar 2022 World Cup" - calls for end to exploitative kafala "sponsorship" system in its current form

Walk Free

Qatar: World Cup migrant workers wait a year to be paid for building offices

Guardian (UK)

Egypt: Report on evolution of the labour market; including factors like underemployment, low wages, deficient terms & conditions of employment that cause Egyptian workers to emigrate

Center for Migration and Refugees Studies, American University of Cairo

Job announcement: We are recruiting a Middle East & North Africa Researcher & Representative (deadline 31 Aug)
Company responses Non-responses
We are a recruiting a Middle East & North Africa Researcher (deadline 31 Aug)

and a Corporate Accountability and Communications Officer (deadline 28 Aug)

This Saturday 2 Aug Business & Human Rights Resource Centre staff will participate in the 2014 London Triathlon to fundraise for our charity
please consider making a donation to support our work at
Forthcoming events:
  • Australian Dialogue on Business and Human Rights (Sydney, 30 Jul)
  • seminar on opportunities for Leadership in Africa (Washington DC, 5 Aug)
  • online course in socially responsible business (1 Sep)
  • conference on ecological sustainability and social equity (Leipzig, 2 Sep) 
  • corporations in the global food system (Oslo, 11-12 Sep)
  • embedding human rights in business (London, 17 Sep)
  • course on implementation of UNGPs in business practices (Frankfurt, 23 Sep)
  • IPCC Fifth Assessment Report business engagement workshop (Washington DC, 25 Sep)
Details of these and future events can be found here
Please send relevant event information to Sam Whannel:
Current vacancies:
Honduras: Acompañantes internacionales a comunidades opuestas a proyectos mineros sufren asalto armado y secuestro
  • Nosotros invitamos a Minerales Victorias a responder; la empresa no lo hizo
  • También se inlcuyen medidas cautelares de la Comisión Interamericana, artículos de prensa y de ONGs
Corte en EE.UU. rechaza demandas de más de 4,000 colombianos contra Chiquita por su supuesta responsabilidad en muerte de familiares

Chile: Organizaciones indígenas presentan comunicado a Relatora Especial de Pueblos Indígenas de la ONU solicitando protección de derechos humanos ante proyectos de inversión

Centro de Investigación de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas y otras 6 organizaciones

Decenas de ONGs firman declaración advirtiendo de la amenaza a los derechos humanos planteada por decisión de Corte Suprema de EE.UU. a favor de "fondos buitre" y contra Argentina

Centro por los Derechos Económicos y Sociales y otras ONGs

México: Ante aprobación parcial de Reforma Energética surgen críticas por “fracking” y "ocupación temporal" de ejidos

El Diario de Coahuila

Chile: Pobladores presentarán recursos de protección a las Cortes contra proyecto de central eléctrica de Terra Cabrero por supuestos daños sociales y ambientales

Diario La Tribuna

Paraguay: Aumento de denuncias por discriminación contra personas afectadas por VIH en entornos sociales o laborales

Colombia: Análisis de abogado laboralista sobre la discriminación a la población LGBT en el trabajo

La República (Colombia)

Nicaragua: Ante planes de HKND para el Canal interoceánico las comunidades étnicas piden consulta previa por sus impactos

El Nuevo Diario

México: Inspección del Trabajo afirma que algunas empresas de seguridad incumplen con jornadas laborales afectando la salud de los empleados

El Diario (México)

Comentario: Nuevo Alto Comisionado para los Derechos Humanos de la ONU debe enfocarse en la responsabilidad empresarial

Institute for Human Rights and Business

Comisión Europea realiza consulta pública sobre la responsabilidad social de las empresas
Reporte sobre responsabilidad corporativa de Repsol informa sobre actividades para formar y sensibilizar a sus empleados en derechos humanos
Consultation publique de l'Union européenne sur la responsabilité sociétale des entreprises

Afrique du Sud : Le syndicat des métallurgistes en grève depuis 4 semaines pour un salaire décent & de meilleures conditions de travail

Libération (France)

Afrique : L'UEMOA veut promouvoir la place des femmes dans le secteur minier

Sidwaya (Burkina Faso)

La société civile africaine dénonce la mauvaise gouvernance de l'Afrique et de ses ressources naturelles dans une lettre adressée à Obama

Réseau des acteurs de la société civile d'Afrique francophone

Rép. dém. du Congo : L'accès à la concession de Banro interdit aux orpailleurs, la compagnie promet des solutions

Radio Okapi (Rép. dém. du Congo)

Niger: L'accord avec Areva est incomplet selon le président du Parlement

Agence de presse Xinhua (Chine)

La Chambre de commerce internationale de Paris donne raison à Rusal dans l'affaire qui l'opposait à la Guinée


Le non-respect des normes sociales et environnementales peut avoir de sérieuses conséquences pour les entreprises, selon un journaliste

Les Echos (France)

Italie : L'autorité de protection des données demande à Google de se conformer à la loi européenne sur la vie privée

Le Monde (France)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre takes no position on the views presented by commentators, organisations and companies in the materials listed in this email or linked to in our website. As with any library, our purpose is to provide access to a wide selection of materials representing diverse viewpoints on matters of public interest. We do not exercise any editorial control over the materials and vouch for their accuracy.

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