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Weekly Update - 5 October 2016

Lead Story
Oil trading firms headquartered in Switzerland accused of selling “dirty diesel” to Africa, causing early deaths, pulmonary illness & other diseases

Public Eye (Switzerland); Guardian (UK); Agefi; African Refiners Association

  • we invited the companies named to respond
  • responses by Addax & Oryx Group, Glencore, Vitol, Vivo Energy provided
  • Mocoh has indicated it will respond; we will include its response in a future Update
  • Gunvoh, Lynx Energy, Mercuria have not yet responded; we will indicate in a future Update whether they respond

(Photo credit: Wikipedia - Zakysant)
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Blog: No company wants slavery in its supply chain, so why are so many sitting on their hands?

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, in Reuters

  • as the deadline for some companies to report under the UK Modern Slavery Act hits, we look at the statements published so far
  • explore company statements in our Central Registry
Vacancy: Senior Researcher on labour rights (1 year maternity cover, deadline 14 Oct)
Latest on debate over proposed UN binding treaty: Kenyan NGO urges govt. to engage Intergovt. Working Group on proposed treaty on business & human rights

Jamaa Resource Initiatives

Climate change leaves coffee farmers at risk – experts from NGOs, roasting companies & environmentalists discuss need to support adaptation

Guardian (UK); Climate Institute

Ecuadorian Govt. proposes UN agency to regulate global taxes to combat tax avoidance by multinationals & individuals

Rafael Correa, President of the Republic of Ecuador; Guardian (UK)

IndustriALL & Tchibo sign global framework agreement strengthening workers’ rights across the supply chain


Sierra Leone: NGOs denounce imprisonment of community members opposing Socfin plantations

Human Rights Defenders Network Sierra Leone

  • we invited Socfin to respond in March; response provided
  • we invited Socfin to respond again in September in light of new events; it did not
So. Africa: Private security companies & police accused of using "extreme use of force" against students protesting rise in tuition costs

Eyewitness News; Right2Know

Kenya: Investors express concerns over human rights abuse allegations at Lake Turkana Wind Power


Drummond in Colombia: Honduras: Independent Fact Finding Mission on human rights impacts of Agua Zarca hydro project offers scenarios for exit by funder FMO

Julian Burger, Margarita Escartin, Nataly Ponce & Leo Valladares Lanza; FMO; SOMO & Both ENDS, Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)

  • FMO, Dutch & Honduran NGOs respond to mission report: COPINH calls report a "whitewash", Dutch NGOs welcome FMO statement that it will exit project
  • unclear whether project would go ahead without FMO
Mexico: Goldcorp announces "controlled shutdown" of Peñasquito mine following protests over environmental harm, access to water


Asia & Pacific
Japan: Bar Association calls on govt. to start work on Natl. Action Plan

Japanese Federation of Bar Associations

"Press 1 for child labour": Rise in use of cellphones to report instances of labour rights abuses across Asia


China: Suspended prison terms for 3 labour activists following crackdown on civic organizations

New York Times

India: Fire at plastic factory raises concerns over fire safety norms

Indian Express; Hindustan Times; Press Trust of India

China: Rejoinder to Disney response regarding environmental impacts of product manufacturing

Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE)

Europe & Central Asia
Commentary: Brexit may limit legal accountability in the UK for foreign human rights abuses by UK companies

Anil Yilmaz Vastardis, Univ. of Essex, in EU Law Analysis

Belarus Country Guide on Human Rights & Business

Danish Institute for Human Rights & Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Serbia: Renewed protests against waterfront development project backed by Eagle Hills over concerns about lack of transparency, public consultation & govt. inaction


Further to 20 July Update on labour rights abuses in footwear supply chains in Eastern Europe: new company response from Geox
Middle East & North Africa
Bahrain: New report alleges Canadian tech company's involvement in online censorship

CBS News; The Citizen Lab

  • we invited Netsweeper to respond - it did not
Israel & Occupied Palestinian Territories: FIFA member league & clubs hold matches on settlement land unlawfully taken from Palestinians, violating UN Guiding Principles, says Human Rights Watch

Saudi Arabia: Construction firm United Seemac leaves 500 workers stranded without pay; company faults govt.'s failure to pay for contracted work

Middle East Eye

Company responses Non-responses
Programme now available for UN Forum on Business & Human Rights (14-16 Nov, Geneva)

Call for comments: UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework’s assurance guidance (due 31 Oct)
Forthcoming events:
  • climate change & human rights expert meeting (6-7 Oct, Geneva)
  • advancing investigations & prosecutions in corporate human rights cases (6 Oct, London)
  • why it makes business sense to defend human rights (11 Oct, London)
  • webinar: managing risk of conflict minerals in supply chains (11 Oct, online)
  • identifying & responding to child labour in supply chains (12 Oct, London)
  • "Towards a UN Treaty on Businesses and Human Rights" (12 Oct, Brussels)
  • victims, corporations & new models of criminal justice (13-14 Oct, Milan)
  • UL Responsible Sourcing Summit - Europe 2016 (13-14 Oct, Barcelona)
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: Senior Researcher on labour rights (1 year maternity cover, deadline 14 Oct)

Other current vacancies:
  • African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (Research Consultants, Access to Remedy)
  • Human Rights Watch (Director, Environment & Human Rights Program)
  • Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (Legal & Policy Intern)
  • Shift (Business Learning Program Director)
  • War on Want (Executive Director)
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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