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Weekly Update - 14 January 2019

Lead Story

Reuters

  • In 2016 the 14 migrant workers complained to Thailand's human rights commission about labour rights abuses including forced labour & passport confiscations 
  • Following the workers’ complaint, owner of Thammakaset farm filed a defamation lawsuit against them that was later dismissed in court
  • Supreme Court ordered company to immediately pay the workers 7 million Thai Baht (about USD52,000) in back wages; see summary of court case here
photo credit: AMISOM public information
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From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
How can renewable energy companies contribute to the SDGs? A draft atlas

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, CCSI, Equitable Origin, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

  • Report finds that renewable energy project developers & operators can best support the SDGs by incorporating human rights-respecting practices into core business operations & collaborat­ing with other stakeholders to amplify impact
  • We are seeking additional input on this draft and invite your feedback & suggestions
New in our blog series on Australia's Modern Slavery Act:
International
UK Supreme Court to decide whether mining company Vedanta Resources can be held responsible for its subsidiary’s pollution of water sources in Zambia

CORE Coalition & Intl. Commission of Jurists; RAID

  • Summary of the lawsuit available here 
German court dismisses lawsuit against textile company KiK for fire at its supplier's factory in Pakistan 

Nation (Pakistan); ECCHR, AEFFAA, NTUF & Medico International

  • KiK was biggest client of Karachi factory that burned down in 2012, killing 250
  • Court ruled that statute of limitations had expired; victims are considering appealing the decision
  • Summary of lawsuit available here
Investors representing USD700 billion call on ICT sector to respect human rights and improve performance on risks relating to privacy & freedom of expression

Investor Alliance for Human Rights


Roundup: Recent commentary on the evolving "purpose" business paradigm Commentary: Implications of the Zero Draft treaty for the construction sector

Dentons

  • Other reflections by experts available in our Zero Draft blog series
Africa
Tanzania: Govt. fines Acacia Mining for violating environmental standards at North Mara mine

Mining Technology

  • Acacia Mining denies the charges, article includes company comments 
Rwanda: Assessment finds companies have low awareness of laws protecting children's rights in business 

New Times (Rwanda)

 

Kenya: Global Compact Network argues upholding human rights is in companies' self-interest 

Global Compact Network (Kenya)

Americas
USA: Investors file resolutions with companies over potential human rights abuses linked to Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; Reuters

  • Investors targeted six companies executing immigration-linked govt. contracts from the private prison, technology, financial services & defence sector 
  • Potential human rights abuses include forced labour, racial profiling, aiding surveillance & not respecting detainee rights 
  • We invited Amazon, CoreCivic, Northrop Grumman & Wells Fargo to respond; responses provided
  • We invited GEO Group & SunTrust Banks to respond; they did not
Canada: Dzawada'enuxw First Nation sues govt. for licensing fish farms to operate in their waters without consultation 

Canada's National Observer


Peruvian OECD Natl. Contact Point receives first complaint filed in Quechua, alleging harm against indigenous culture by Marriott Hotel  

OECD Watch


Analysis of human rights disclosure of Canadian mining companies reveals need for more information on stakeholder engagement & challenges

Shift

Asia & Pacific
Philippines: Pacific Plaza Tower employees on strike calling for contractual workers to be regularised; also accuse company of increased surveillance

CNN

  • We invited Pacific Plaza Towers Condominium to respond; response provided
Badger Sport drops Chinese supplier over reports clothes made using forced labour in detainee camps

CNN


Cambodia: Some workers reinstated after mass firing over strike but others refuse to return 

Thomson Reuters Foundation; Phnom Penh Post; Khmer Times

  • Workers who refused to return cited concerns over treatment of colleagues & pressure from factory
  • We invited M&S, supplied by W&D garment factory, to respond; response provided
India: Supreme Court backs environmental tribunal's order to reopen Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu

Livemint

  • Tamil Nadu govt. had appealed for copper plant to remain shut, alleging it had polluted local ground
Vietnam: New law requires internet companies to remove "anti-state" content & hand over user data

Jakarta Post

Europe & Central Asia
UK: Poll shows British consumers would pay more for fair fashion but lack trust in ethical pledges made by brands

Thomson Reuters Foundation


Dutch human trafficking rapporteur calls for investigation into nail bar market following reports of exploitation

Dutch News


UK: Court grants police first Interim Slavery & Trafficking Risk Order under Modern Slavery Act

Cambs Times

  • Order allows the courts to place a range of restrictions on behaviour & activities of a person who poses a risk of committing slavery or trafficking offences
Middle East & North Africa
Israel: Migrant construction workers three times more likely to die in workplace accidents than locals

Haaretz

  • CSO leader suspects discrepancy could be due to "language difficulties, different work habits, and the payment method which rewards speed over cautious performance"
UAE: Abu Dhabi court to provide "food & transport cards" to workers involved in labour disputes whose wages have been withheld 

The National (UAE)

Company responses Non Responses
Announcements
Save the Date: Inaugural UN South Asia Forum on Business & Human Rights (14-15 March, New Delhi) First Latin American Conference on Business & Human Rights - Call for Paper (Deadline for abstracts: 25 Jan 2019)
Events
Forthcoming events: 
  • EU Commission’s Sustainable Corporate Governance Conference (Brussels, 24 Jan)
  • Winter Academy: The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: From Theory to Practice (28 Jan-1 Feb, The Hague)
  • The state of corporate sustainability disclosure under the EU NFR Directive (8 Feb, Brussels)
  • 2019 OECD Forum on Due Diligence Guidance in the Garment and Footwear Sector (13-14 Feb, Paris)
Details of these & other future events can be found here. Please send relevant event information to Maja Janjic: janjic@business-humanrights.org.
Jobs
Vacancies at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: Other vacancies:
Further details & other recently posted jobs available here. To submit a new job announcement in business & human rights please go here.
DISCLAIMER:
We take no position on views by commentators, organisations & companies in the materials in this email: http://business-humanrights.org/en/about-us/disclaimer
Copyright © 2019 Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, All rights reserved.


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