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Weekly Update - 6 April 2016

Lead Story
Panama Papers: Huge data leak from law firm Mossack Fonseca & victims of exploitation of offshore tax havens

Intl. Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ); Guardian (UK); ITV

  • video shows how offshore tax regimes can be linked to human rights abuses, including human trafficking, war crimes, lack of access to education, healthcare
  • Mossack Fonseca says it does "not offer solutions whose purpose is to hide unlawful acts such as tax evasion" 
  • Global Witness says data leak reinforces its call for names of company owners to be placed in public domain
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Blog: Myanmar's new govt. inherits problems and promise of special economic zones

Vani Sathisan, Intl. Commission of Jurists and Bobbie Sta. Maria, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, in Reuters

Vacancies at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
  • Communications Internship (due 2 May)
  • IT & Digital Security Volunteer (rolling application)
Facing Finance report examines human rights abuses by 20 companies & their ties to financial institutions
  • finds voluntary social commitments are not sufficient to prevent abuses
  • we invited the companies & banks mentioned in the report to respond
  • responses by Allianz, Alstom, Anglo American, ExxonMobil, Heidelberg Cement, HSBC, Inditex, Motorola Solutions, Nestlé, Pfizer, Syngenta, Rolls-Royce, Sanofi, Syngenta, Total provided
  • Lockheed Martin declined to respond; we will indicate whether the other companies mentioned in the report respond in a future Update
Human Rights at Sea publication highlights need to implement UN Guiding Principles in maritime environment
  • foreword by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Guatemalan woman's human rights claims against Hudbay proceed in Canadian court

New York Times

  • includes allegations of forced eviction, rape
Newmont publishes sustainability report reflecting reporting obligations as an early adopter of UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework

Final reminder: Registration for Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights open until 8 Apr
  • announcement also available in Chinese
Kenya: Oil exploration by Tullow in Kerio Valley fuelling community tensions, possible human rights abuses

Al Jazeera

Malawi: Residents claim Globe Metals & Mining failed to compensate them after displacement; includes company comments


Côte d'Ivoire: Govt. coordinates efforts to end child labour & trafficking on cocoa plantations

Voices of America

Colombia: Cerrejón Coal accused of forced displacement of Afro-descendant community

London Mining Network

  • we invited Cerrejón Coal to respond; response provided
Bolivia: NGOs allege labour rights abuses at 2 Sinohydro construction projects


  •  we invited Sinohydro to respond; it did not
USA: 15 state attorneys general & former Vice President Al Gore launch coalition to address companies' role in climate change

Voice of America

Asia & Pacific
Cambodia passes trade union law despite strong opposition over anti-union provisions; UN, brands issue statements

Reuters; Phnom Penh Post

  • statements by H&M, Inditex, Levi Strauss supporting freedom of association, right to collective bargaining in garment industry
China: 37 detained in relation to problems with vaccine storage, distribution

South China Morning Post

  • 13 pharmaceutical wholesalers currently being investigated
India: Orissa state govt. petitions to grant Vedanta mining access to ancestral land of Dongria Kondh

Telegraph (UK)

Papua New Guinea: MiningWatch Canada claims Enodo Rights report on remedy mechanism for rape victims was biased; Enodo Rights responds

Indonesia: Report highlights development agenda, lack of recognition of customary lands among root causes of indigenous rights abuse

Jakarta Post

Europe & Central Asia
42,000 petition signatories call for binding EU regulation on conflict minerals

Christliche Initiative Romero

UK: Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner urges transparency, proactive approach to combat slavery amongst UK-based UN Global Compact signatories 

Kevin Hyland OBE, Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

Public consultation on EU non-financial reporting guidelines (closes 15 Apr)
Middle East & North Africa
UN to create database of companies operating in Israeli settlements in Occupied West Bank & East Jerusalem; Israel criticises measure

Financial Times (USA)

  • will cover Israeli & intl. companies in a wide range of industries, including banking, construction, security services, utilities 
Company responses Non-responses
Invitation to sign joint statement calling on G7 to fulfil supply chain commitments (open until 15 Apr)

Call for papers: Business & Human Rights Scholars Conference (deadline 15 May)
Forthcoming events:
  • use of financial databases to hold companies accountable for human rights abuses (7 Apr, New York)
  • piloting a fair recruitment model in the apparel industry (11 Apr, Amman)
  • "Responsible Business Summit USA 2016" (12-13 Apr, New York)
  • implementing respect for human rights in procurement practices (13 Apr, online)
  • intl. symposium: extractive industries & communities (14 Apr, Berlin)
  • online course on trafficking & modern slavery for professionals (ongoing, online)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
Vacancies at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Current vacancies: Further details and other recently posted jobs available here.  Please send job announcements to Alex Janczenia:  
We take no position on views by commentators, organizations & companies in the materials in this email:
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