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Weekly Update - 17 September 2014

Lead Story
40 civil society orgs. urge corporate supporters of Baku 2015 European Games in Azerbaijan to consider human rights impacts

Letter by Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business - also signed by Article 19, European Coalition for Corporate Justice, ISHR, many NGOs from Central Asia & E. Europe

  • govt. cracks down on human rights activists prior to Games; many imprisoned as prisoners of conscience, says Amnesty Intl.
  • civil society letter was to “Official Partners” of Games: BP, Nar Mobile, P&G, Tissot (part of Swatch Group) & “Official Supporters” McDonald’s & TicketHour
  • responses by McDonald’s, Swatch Group provided.  BP indicated it will respond; we will indicate in next week’s Update whether Nar Mobile, P&G, TicketHour respond
Africa Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights (16-18 Sep, Addis Ababa)
  • also provided: "Business & human rights in Africa: Time for a responsibility revolution" (briefing in English; exec. summary also in French)
  • UN Working Group press conference: Thurs. 18 Sep, 2 pm 
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Report on states' extraterritorial obligations related to corporate human rights abuses

ESCR-Net Corporate Accountability Working Group

Nominations open for Chairperson of 2014 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights (due 10 Oct)

UN Human Rights Council panel calls on govts. to ensure protection of privacy rights in digital age
  • Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights warns about potential links between technology, surveillance & human rights abuses
  • also provided: Access briefing note on internet rights
UN Women launches online platform to encourage gender-responsive businesses, support women-led enterprises

Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment

H&M partners with ILO to "promote sustainable global supply chains" in garment industry

Intl. Labour Organization

White paper: "Business sustainability & why it matters"

World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Councils

  • also provided: blog by Michael H. Posner, NYU Stern School of Business
Video: Xerox's approach to diversity - includes interview with CEO Ursula Burns

PBS News Hour

"Business & human rights in Africa: Time for a responsibility revolution"

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • regional overview - focus on opportunities & risks from new investments in oil & gas and agriculture, impacts of digital revolution in Africa & the "resource curse"
  • analyses over 400 company responses & non-responses to human rights concerns - under 10% of responses include commitment to change practices
Uganda: Copper stockpiles left after Tibet Hima mine closure compromise access to water for locals - includes company comments

Oil in Uganda

OceanaGold sues El Salvador in World Bank intl. arbitration tribunal for USD 301 million because govt. did not grant it a mining permit
  • govt. says company did not meet requirements for permit, including environmental impact assessment
  • SumOfUs issues petition demanding OceanaGold “drop the lawsuit against El Salvador!"
  • Oxfam America says lawsuit highlights “discrepancy between mining companies’ global CSR commitments and their actual practices"
USA: Report highlights discrimination & harassment against women in construction industry, makes recommendations for change

National Women's Law Center

USA: Report exposes working conditions of migrant women in Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona; Arizona Daily Star (USA)

Brasil Center fined for pregnancy discrimination against workers; includes company comments

Tribuna (Brasil)

  • only in Portuguese: Brasil Center é condenada por discriminação contra gravidez de suas funcionárias; contém comentários da empresa
Commentary: Lawyer analyses US court decision in So. African apartheid case against IBM & Ford

Michael Kourabas, TriplePundit

People's Climate March calls on political & corporate leaders to take strong action against global warming at UN Climate Change Summit (21 Sep, New York)
Asia & Pacific
Commentary: "Signs human rights are moving slowly up the agenda in corporate China"

Lowell Chow, East Asia Researcher & Representative, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, in Guardian Sustainable Business

Victims of Ali Enterprises factory fire in Pakistan to sue KiK in Germany if long-term compensation negotiations fail

Clean Clothes Campaign; European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights; medico international

  • we invited KiK to respond - response provided
Cambodia: Experts warn of serious environmental & social impacts of new dam projects; cite alternatives

Voice of America Khmer

US court dismisses lawsuit against Cisco over allegations of abetting torture of Falun Gong practitioners in China

Courthouse News Service (USA)

India: Unsanitary conditions at Tata Steel's Odisha plant led to dengue outbreak infecting 280 workers, says govt. official - includes company comments (India)

Thai groups protest defamation lawsuits filed by mining company Tungkum Limited against community leaders & human rights defenders

Asian Human Rights Commission

Vietnam: Global Witness files complaint against Vietnam Rubber Group with Forest Stewardship Council for alleged land grabs

Voice of America Khmer

Europe & Central Asia
EU Commission urges members to implement new ILO protocol on forced labour

European Commission

UK: ShareAction criticises Sports Direct at its Annual General Meeting over its use of "zero hours" contracts, alleging contracts are exploitative
  • we invited Sports Direct to respond - it declined
Bulgaria: Environment Minister bans unconventional gas exploration & production technologies amid water pollution protests

Novinite (Bulgaria)

2nd submission by Amnesty Intl., ECCJ, FIDH, CORE & Sherpa to Council of Europe's Drafting Group on Human Rights and Business
  • group meets 24-26 Sep to discuss business & human rights recommendations for member states
Middle East & North Africa
Report profiles companies that purchase phosphate from disputed Western Sahara territory, allegedly without benefits to locals

Western Sahara Resource Watch

  • we invited the companies to respond: responses from Agrium, Incitec-Pivot, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan provided
  • Lifosa, Innophos, ISUSA, Pequiven (owner of Monomeros) and Tripoliven did not respond; we will indicate in next week's update whether Ballance Agri-Nutrients & Ravensdown respond
  • report also highlights companies that have ended phosphate purchases from Western Sahara
Concerns that Hitachi equipment has been used in home demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory & Israel

Who Profits From the Occupation

  • we invited Hitachi to respond - response provided
Allegations that Sony equipment used in Israeli missiles bombing Gaza Strip

Press TV

  • we invited Sony to respond - it declined to do so
US lawsuit against Arab Bank over alleged complicity in terrorist attacks in Israel; company denies allegations

Reuters; Bloomberg

Bahrain: Founder of smartphone walkie-talkie app Zello defends security after arrests of activists

Independent (UK)

Intl. Trade Union Confederation calls on ILO to investigate welfare of migrant workers in UAE

Guardian (UK)

Commentary calls on businesses in Qatar to undertake human rights due diligence consistent with UN Guiding Principles

Priyanka Motaparthy on Institute of Human Rights and Business blog

Company responses Non-responses
Forthcoming events:
  • "African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights" (Addis Abab, 17 Sep)
  • conference on CSR & the legal profession (London,18-19 Sep)
  • webinar: mapping global issues affecting adolescent girls (19 Sep)
  • "People's Climate March" (New York, 21 Sep)
  • UN climate change summit (New York, 23 Sep)
  • course on business implementation of UN Guiding Principles (Frankfurt, 23 Sep)
  • gender equality, human rights and business - webinar (24 Sep)
  • business engagement workshop on IPCC 5th Assessment Report (Washington, 25 Sep) 
  • training course on stakeholder engagement (Frankfurt, 25 Sep)
  • "Inaugural Business for Peace Annual Event" (Istanbul, 29-30 Sep)
  • "14th Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative Workshop" (San Francisco, 29-30 Sep)
  • international arbitration tribunal on business and human rights (London, 29 Sep)
  • conference on preventing corporate/community conflict (Barcelona, 1-3 Oct)
  • "Responsible Electronics 2014" (Burlingame, 1-2 Oct)
  • conference on tax avoidance & tax justice (Barcelona, 2 Oct)
  • CSR compliance workshop (Copenhagen, 3 Oct)
  • course on business, conflict and peace (Basel, 6-10 Oct)
  • industry, civil society and sustainable mineral production (Copenhagen, 8 Oct)
  • "Dignity and Business conference: human rights and responsibilities" (Tübingen, 9-10 Oct)
  • webinar: human rights, business and access to water (9 Oct)
Details of these and future events can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Sam Whannel:
Current vacancies:
Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Sam Whannel:
Estudio de la Comisión Económica para América Latina destaca que se mantiene la desigualdad económica entre mujeres y hombres


Se inicia arbitraje en demanda de OceanaGold contra El Salvador en tribunal del Banco Mundial

El; Aliados Internacionales contra la Minería en El Salvador

  • La empresa demandó al país luego de que la licencia minera de Pacific Rim, la cual compró el año pasado, fuera cancelada por graves riesgos ambientales y de acceso al agua
  • Lanzan campaña internacional de solidaridad con El Salvador
Informe de Valor Compartido de Nestlé anuncia compromiso para eliminar el trabajo infantil en su cadena de valor


Entreprises et droits de l'homme en Afrique : Pour une vraie révolution dans la responsabilité
  • Un aperçu régional ciblant les opportunités et risques des nouveaux investissements dans le pétrole, le gaz et l'agriculture, et les impacts de la révolution numérique en Afrique
  • Analyse de plus de 400 réponses et non réponses d'entreprises à propos de leurs impacts sur les droits de l'homme - les entreprises s'engagent à changer leurs pratiques dans moins de 10% des réponses
  • Résumé exécutif - le rapport intégral est disponible seulement en anglais
Forum régional africain des Nations Unies sur les entreprises et droits de l'homme : commentaires de la société civile
  • Commentaires de Paul Guy Hyomeni, RECODH (Cameroun) ; Aboubacar Diallo, CECIDE (Guinée) ; Emmanuel Umpula Nkumba, Afrewatch (Rép. dém. du Congo)
Côte d'Ivoire : Des victimes des déchets toxiques continuent de se battre pour être indemnisées (Côte d'Ivoire)

Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez demande aux députés français de poursuivre leur action dans la lutte contre l’évasion fiscale par les multinationales

Coalition Publiez Ce Que Vous Payez

Rép. dém. du Congo : L'éboulement dans une mine d'or fait huit morts et plusieurs blessés

Radio Okapi (Rép. dém. du Congo)

Rép. dém. du Congo : Un groupe de 70 experts remet en cause le rôle des minerais dans le conflit à l'Est du pays

Les Dépêches de Brazzaville; Radio Okapi (Rép. dém. du Congo); RFI

Une étude souligne les initiatives sociales des entreprises du CAC 40 pour relever le défi de la pauvreté

L'Express (France)

Sénégal : L'entreprise Schneider et la France soutiennent l'électrification rurale

Agence de Presse Sénégalaise (APS)

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