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Weekly Update - 19 October 2016

Lead Story
World Bank investment dispute tribunal rules in favour of El Salvador in arbitration case brought by Pacific Rim (now OceanaGold)

Intl. Allies against Mining in El Salvador; Guardian; OceanaGold


(Photo credit: Resumen)
  • tribunal orders company to pay the govt. USD 8 million to cover legal costs
  • Pacific Rim claimed El Salvador Govt. had unfairly refused to grant it a concession and sued for loss of potential profits of up to USD 300 million
  • Govt. held OceanaGold failed to meet regulatory requirements; lacked crucial environmental permissions; did not hold the rights to much of the land required for its project, and failed to submit a final feasibility study
  • civil society groups cheer decision but call company’s legal claims “blackmail” that chills environmental protection; company is “disappointed”
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
KnowTheChain publishes benchmark of 20 food & beverage firms

KnowTheChain; Responsible Investor

  • finds companies are not taking sufficient action to address supply chain forced labour despite acute risks
First analysis of FTSE100 statements under UK Modern Slavery Act

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre; Financial Times; Reuters

  • the 27 firms from FTSE100 that have reported so far were tiered on their reports under the Act
Post-US Presidential elections, will big business take the high road or the low road?

Annabel Short, Deputy Director

"Syrian refugees in supply chains: Exploitation or opportunity?"
  • video & insights from 26 Sep Mary Robinson Speaker Series event in New York City now online
We're hiring: Development Officer, based New York or London (deadline 23 Nov)
Union of Concerned Scientists scores 8 fossil fuel companies on actions to limit climate change
  • we invited Arch Coal, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Consol Energy, ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy & Shell to respond; responses provided by BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil & Peabody Energy
Fifa threatened with lawsuit in Swiss courts for complicity in mistreatment of migrant workers in Qatar


BSR & GlobeScan find companies list human rights as most important corporate sustainability issue

UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai: Failure to protect freedom of assembly & association can exacerbate inequality
  • report available in seven languages
Insights as UN Intergovt. Working Group meeting on proposed treaty approaches (Oct 24 - 28)
  • we are collecting materials about the session in English, French & Spanish and welcome any contributions that stakeholders wish to share
So. Africa: Harvard Law School says govt. not doing enough to protect communities' rights against harmful impacts of mining

International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School; Reuters

Zimbabwe: Widow of mine worker shot and killed by Redwing mine security guard sues company for USD 500,000

Mining Zimbabwe

Brazil: Head of environmental affairs in Altamira, a city affected by Belo Monte dam, is murdered

Associated Press

  • local media reports previous death threats due to advocacy against deforestation
USA: Walmart finds that paying its workers more, pays off

New York Times

USA: Social media firms providing data to Geofeedia, which “targets activists” from racial minority groups, says civil liberties group

Guardian; American Civil Liberties Union

  • includes comments from Facebook, Twitter & Geofeedia
Honduras: Two COPINH activists survive gunfire attacks, seven months after assassination of the organization's leader Berta Cáceres


  • COPINH is an indigenous rights defender group & protests development of hydropower projects that impact traditional lands
Asia & Pacific
Commentary: Chinese companies investing overseas need to adopt sustainability codes

Cao Jiahan of Shanghai Institute for International Studies, in China Dialogue 

  • specifically recommends that China take the lead in developing a code of conduct for infrastructure, in context of China's "Belt and Road" initiative
Japan: Workers at risk of death from overwork in almost 1 in 4 companies 

Japan Times

Japan: Married women have no right to use their original surname at work


NGOs file legal complaint against Bayer for mislabeling of hazardous pesticide products sold in India

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

Europe & Central Asia
Hungary: Protesters raise concerns about freedom of press & expression following shutdown of biggest opposition newspaper; newspaper’s owners cite declining profits
  • we invited newspaper’s owners Mediaworks & Vienna Capital Partners to respond; Vienna Capital Partners sent a statement on behalf of MediaWorks
Turkey: Twenty-year opposition to Cerattepe mine over environmental impacts exposes deficiencies in legal system


Following last week’s Update: Lydian Intl. responds to petition urging govt., private & intl. financial institutions to stop supporting Amulsar gold mine over health & climate concerns

Pan-Armenian Environmental Front Civic Initiative

  • we invited Lydian Intl. to respond; response provided
  • we also invited Resource Capital Funds & Orion Mine Finance, reportedly investors in Amulsar gold mine, to respond; Resource Capital Funds indicated it will respond next week
Middle East & North Africa
Jordan: USA removes garment industry from forced labour list

Jordan Times

Opinion: Migrant workers trapped by Saudi Arabia's kafala system bear brunt of country's economic downturn

James Lynch of Amnesty International, in Middle East Eye

Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • 2 events with UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly & Association (20 & 21 Oct, New York)
  • "Intl. Conference on Business and Human Rights" (20-21 Oct, Seville)
  • summit meeting on sustainable supply chains (20-21 Oct, London)
  • legal training including business & human rights (21 Oct, Edinburgh)
  • 2nd session inter-govt. working group on business & human rights (24-28 Oct, Geneva)
  • conference on managing human rights risks in business (24-25 Oct, London)
  • briefing on DRC, human rights & natural resources sector (26 Oct, London)
  • access to justice for victims of corporate human rights violations (3 Nov, register by 24 Oct, Milan)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (Development Officer)

Other current vacancies:
  • Corruption Watch (Senior Legal Researcher with Investigative Skills)
  • CSR Europe (Project Manager Supply Chain Sustainability)
  • Intl. Alert (2 posts: Country Manager DRC; Head of Finance & Operations) 
  • JUST Capital (Associate, Products & Engagement)
  • OECD Watch/SOMO (Advocacy Lead)
Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  To submit a new job announcement in business & human rights please go here.
We take no position on views by commentators, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
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