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Weekly Update - 24 September 2014

Lead Story
Calls for climate change action: UN Summit and People's Climate March

We Mean Business Coalition (BSR, Climate Group, CDP, Ceres, B-Team, Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group, WBCSD); Oxfam, UN Global Compact, others

  • "We Mean Business" coalition says that leading businesses: Acknowledge the science; Act to reduce CO2 emissions and enhance resilience; Advocate for a low-carbon future. 
  • Oxfam: 4 new ways food companies are tackling climate change – and 3 ideas to help them do even better.
  • Google latest firm to quit industry org. ALEC, given ALEC’s opposition to US action on climate change.
  • Desmond Tutu: Reducing our carbon footprint is “the human rights challenge of our time”
  • “Recognizing indigenous and community rights – priority steps to advance development and mitigate climate change”
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Danish Institute for Human Rights seeks to "explore & unpack" govts.' duties under UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 
  • specific issues addressed include extraterritoriality, state-owned firms, privatisation, procurement, conflict zones, international economic agreements, access to remedy
New quarterly bulletin on corporate legal accountability

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

  • includes new profiles of lawsuits against Auchan (re factory collapse in Bangladesh), Tahoe Resources (re violence at Escobal mine, Guatemala) & oil companies (re gas flaring in Nigeria)
  • latest developments in lawsuits around the world, including against CACI, Chiquita, Nestlé, Shell
  • new translations of case profiles in Chinese, French & Spanish
Unilever & Shift launch collaboration to advance corporate reporting on human rights via Reporting & Assurance Frameworks Initiative (RAFI)

New paper on engaging users of technology in human rights due diligence

BSR, commissioned by Microsoft

  • recommends that information & communications tech firms identify victims of past violations, prioritise vulnerable users, engage rights holders before real business decisions are made
How Lush, Unilever & other companies are helping promote peace in conflict zones

Guardian (UK)

Nokia reports on steps taken to protect freedom of expression & privacy, per Telecommunications Industry Dialogue principles

New "Human Trafficking" section on Business & Human Rights Resource Centre website
First African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights:
  • African Union Commissioner urges all "to fundamentally break with this logic" of letting human rights fall "by the wayside in the race to attract foreign investment" 
  • update on African Coalition for Corporate Accountability - NGOs plan next steps
Ethiopia: 8 people allegedly killed in conflicts after govt. gives indigenous land to commercial foreign investors 

Anywaa Survival Organisation

Tanzania: Gas & mining companies join calls for govt. to make details of investment contracts public

The Citizen (Tanzania)

Civil society organizations adopt African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms

Public Knowledge (USA)

So. Africa: Plaintiffs' experts accuse gold mining companies of distorting science to quash silicosis class action lawsuit

City Press (So. Africa)

Argentina: Center for Legal and Social Studies files lawsuit against Molinos Río de la Plata for alleged complicity in crimes during military dictatorship

Buenos Aires Herald; Center for Legal and Social Studies

Brazil: Govt. suspends auction for Tapajós dam due to impacts on indigenous communities


Brazil: Presidential candidates sign pledge against slave-like labour

Repórter Brasil

  • only available in Portuguese: Brasil: Candidatas Dilma e Marina aderem a carta-compromisso contra o trabalho análogo ao escravo
Asia & Pacific
Malaysia: Verité report finds evidence of widespread forced labour among migrant workers in electronics industry

Verité; Thanh Nien News (Vietnam); Guardian (UK); Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition; ILO

  • with responses to report by ILO & Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition
  • Vietnam Govt. says it will verify Verité’s findings of passport retention, debt bondage & will work with Malaysia to review bilateral agreement
Cambodia: H&M urged to show leadership on living wage, as garment workers demand increase in minimum wage

Clean Clothes Campaign; Reuters

  • we invited H&M to respond; response provided
  • armed troops deployed amidst garment worker protests
OECD Guidelines complaint against G4S over treatment of asylum seekers detained in Australian offshore processing centre

Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), Human Rights Law Centre; Guardian (UK)

  • we invited G4S to respond; response provided 
  • refers to Feb 2014 violent outbreak where 1 detainee died, over 60 were injured
China: Thousands protest against planned incinerator project in Boluo, Guangdong over health concerns

New York Times

  • 24 protesters detained by police; govt. says plant will not release dangerous amounts of toxins
Vietnam: “Degraded living conditions” due to pollution reported around Tan Rai Bauxite Complex; company denies causing damage

Tuoi Tre News (Vietnam)

Malaysia & Indonesia: Asian Agri, IOI, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, Musim Mas & Sime Darby announce moratorium on sourcing palm oil from potential high carbon stock forests


Europe & Central Asia
Further to last week's Update: BP responds to civil society letter on its sponsorship of Baku 2015 European Games, in context of widespread arrests of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan

Cotton Campaign rejoinder criticises Daewoo statement re continuing to source cotton from Uzbekistan despite forced labour

Walk Free, Cotton Campaign

  • we invited Daewoo to respond; response provided
  • Cotton Campaign's rejoinder was in respect of earlier response from Daewoo to Walk Free petition
UK Equality and Human Rights Commission report on labour issues in cleaning industry
  • blog by Commissioner says some firms' conduct is "unacceptable" as they fail "to meet their most basic responsibilities to their workers"
UK: CORE coalition launches manifesto setting out recommendations for political leadership on corporate accountability

Russia: Court fines Burger King restaurant for food safety violations

RIA Novosti (Russia)

Middle East & North Africa
US jury finds Arab Bank liable for supporting Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel

New York Times

Further to last week's Update: Ballance Agri-Nutrients did not respond to concerns that it purchases phosphate from disputed Western Sahara territory, without benefits to locals

Western Sahara Resource Watch

  • Ravensdown did not respond but said they had passed our inquiry to their industry association - if we receive any comment we will include it in a future Update
  • other company responses & non-responses provided
Company responses Non-responses
Panel discussion on new book "The Social License" -  by John Morrison, Executive Director of Institute for Human Rights and Business (London, 29 Sep)
  • BBC Foreign Correspondent Humphrey Hawksley moderates panel at Amnesty Intl. UK, from 6.30pm
Nominations open for Chairperson of 2014 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights (due 10 Oct)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is looking for legal & general research interns to join our London office
Forthcoming events
  • 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)
  • book launch: "The Social License" by John Morrison (London 29 Sep)
Details of these and other events further in the future 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:
Guatemala: Estado de emergencia tras asesinatos de 11 personas, opositores y partidarios de proyecto de Cementos Progreso

Prensa comunitaria;Prensa Libre; AFP; Observatorio de Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas

  • Cementos Progreso demanda a periodista que escribió columna crítica contra la empresa
  • Incluímos comentarios de la empresa sobre los hechos de violencia
Argentina: ONG CELS presenta querella contra Molinos Río de la Plata por complicidad en crímenes durante la dictadura militar

Página/12 (Argentina)

Sección en nuestro sitio web sobre el Tratado Vinculante sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos ahora disponible en español
  • Incluye últimas noticias, artículos y comentarios 
Colombia: Movimientos opositores a represa de empresa Isagen instaura demanda de Acción Popular por “graves daños socioambientales”

Varias ONG y movimientos

Sahara Occidental: Primer informe sobre compras de fosfato obtenido por Marruecos en territorios ocupados de los saharauis señala responsabilidad de tres empresas latinoamericanas

Western Sahara Resource Watch (Sahara Occidental)

  • Las empresas son ISUSA, Pequiven (propietaria de Monómeros Colombo-Venezolanos) y Tripoliven, las cuales no respondieron a nuestra invitación a comentar
Colombia: Estatal petrolera Ecopetrol rechaza asesinato de dos contratistas, presuntamente por guerrilleros

Semana; El Tiempo; Ecopetrol

Argentina: Comisión de la Cámara de Diputados bonaerense vota para crear entidad que investigue actores cómplices con "terrorismo de Estado", incluyendo empresas

Página/12 (Argentina)

Representantes de 32 países se reúnen para implementar el Observatorio del Sur de Empresas Transnacionales

Agencia Venezolana de Noticias

Colombia: Corte decidió suspender decreto que vetaba a las autoridades locales tomar acciones contra proyectos mineros

El Espectador (Colombia)

Afrique : Le forum régional des Nations Unies sur les entreprises et les droits de l'homme est une occasion unique de promouvoir des plans nationaux d'action, selon Michael Addo (Guinée) 

« Industries extractives en Afrique de l'Ouest - mettre les richesses minières au service des populations »

bulletin semestriel d'OSIWA

  • Les « compagnies étrangères profitent de l’incapacité des populations et des institutions locales à prendre la pleine mesure de leurs droits ou à les défendre »
  • Dans les communautés riches en minerais : « Routes, écoles, hôpitaux, emplois, presque tout y manque »
  • Avec des exemples et des actions dans le Ghana, la Guinée, le Niger et le Sénégal

Afrique : Les coordonnateurs nationaux de l'Initiative pour la Transparence des Industries Extractive veulent que la norme ait un impact réel sur le vécu des populations

Sud Quotidien (Sénégal)

Rép. dém. du Congo : La société civile exige l'annulation de l'ordonnance relative au contrat de partage de production pétrolière signé avec Soco

Radio Okapi (Rép. dém. du Congo)

Nouvelle section de notre site sur le projet de traité contraignant sur les entreprises et les droits de l'homme - disponible en français
  • Avec les dernières nouvelles, des articles et des commentaires
Dernier numéro du Bulletin trimestriel sur la responsabilité juridique des entreprises

Centre de Ressources sur les Entreprises et les Droits de l'homme

  • Avec des nouveaux résumés de procès contre Auchan (concernant l’effondrement d’une usine textile au Bangladesh), Tahoe Resources (concernant des actes de violence dans une mine au Guatemala), et contre des compagnies pétrolières (concernant le torchage du gaz au Nigeria)
  • Derniers développements dans les procès, y compris contre Chiquita, Nestlé, Shell
Cambodge : Peuples Solidaires appelle H&M à verser un salaire décent aux ouvriers de l’industrie textile ; comprend une déclaration de l’entreprise

Deux avocats expliquent les risques grandissants auxquels s’exposent les entreprises si elles ne respectent pas les droits de l’homme

Les Echos (France)

Burkina Faso : Iamgold soutient la lutte contre le paludisme

Sidwaya (Burkina Fao)

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre takes no position on the views presented by commentators, organisations and companies in the materials listed in this email or linked to in our website. As with any library, our purpose is to provide access to a wide selection of materials representing diverse viewpoints on matters of public interest. We do not exercise any editorial control over the materials and do not vouch for their accuracy.

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