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Weekly Update - 10 February 2016

Lead Story

Spotlight on health & safety and working conditions in South Asia

File:Garment factory in Bangladesh Women working.jpg
(Photo credit: Tareq Salahuddin [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
India: Global brands accused of not doing enough to ensure a living wage & "decent work" in garment & electronics industries

Cividep India & Framtiden i våre hender

New report alleges poor living conditions & restricted movement of young migrant garment workers in Bangalore

India Committee of the Netherlands; Quartz

  • C&A, H&M, Inditex, PVH responded to report's authors
Bangladesh: Another major factory fire shows industry safeguards are failing, say worker rights groups

Accord on Fire & Building Safety in Bangladesh; Clean Clothes Campaign, Intl. Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, Worker Rights Consortium; Daily Star; Quartz

  • fire occurred at factory allegedly supplying H&M & JCPenny
We invited brands to respond to the reports - responses by Dell, Gap, H&M, Samsung provided.  We have not yet received a response from Varner Group to "decent work" report re India; we will indicate in a future Update whether it responds.
From us
Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & No. Africa
From Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
Consultation on Corporate Human Rights Benchmark: open 8-26 February 2016
  • focuses on recent changes to measurements & indicators
Briefing: Business & human rights challenges in Eastern Europe & Central Asia

Briefing: Syrian refugees in Turkish garment supply chains
  • outreach to 28 garment brands sourcing from Turkey reveals companies are not acting fast enough to safeguard Syrian refugees from exploitation
Podcast: Phil Bloomer, Executive Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, joins PRI's Felicitas Weber to discuss UK Modern Slavery Act
4 former Blackwater contractors appeal US court convictions over shootings in Iraq

Associated Press

Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights - Accountability & Remedy Project invites comments on draft guidance to States by 18 March

CEO of yoghurt company Chobani calls on fellow business leaders to hire & integrate refugees into workforce

Mic (USA)

New report warns that insecure land tenure is detrimental to both companies & local communities, argues for more commitment to closing the gap in recognition of land rights

Rights and Resources Initiative

African Mining Indaba & Alternative Mining Indaba in Cape Town - focus on safety after 100 workers trapped in Vantage Goldfields mine collapse

Independent Online; Forbes; BusinessDay; Nyasa Times

  • mining executive Bridgette Radebe of Mmakau Mining urges action on child labour
  • new report urges better compensation of communities, implementation of social & labour plans in So. Africa
So. Africa: 4 miners die at Impala Platinum mine - unions & NGOs urge better safety measures by mining firms

News24; Bench Marks Foundation; National Union of Mineworkers

  • also includes statement by company
AstraZeneca launches Healthy Heart Africa initiative to address burden of hypertension for low & middle income patients 

Daily News (Tanzania)

Ecuador: Sápara indigenous group say govt. contracts with Andes Petroleum threaten their livelihoods, culture, territory

  • Andes Petroleum is jointly owned by CNPC, Sinopec
Honduras: Attack on home of 2 indigenous land rights defenders opposing Los Encinos hydroelectric project

Front Line Defenders

USA: 2 Senators introduce bill to limit use of arbitration by companies including in employment disputes

New York Times 

Asia & Pacific
Myanmar: Intl. Commission of Jurists raises concerns over CPG Consortium's role in Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone including environmental risks & lack of information
  •  we invited CPG Consortium to respond - response provided
Papua New Guinea: Should income levels be a factor in assessing remedies for sexual abuses under Barrick’s Porgera framework?
  • EarthRights Intl. & Enodo Rights continue debate on standards for assessing damages under intl. human rights law
Cambodia: Beer promoters allege being fired by Carlsberg's local partner Cambrew for protesting lengthened work hours & short-term contracts

Phnom Penh Post; Cambodian Food & Service Workers' Federation

  • we invited Carlsberg to respond - response provided
Nestlé India launches new initiatives aimed at creating gender-inclusive work environment

New Indian Express

China: Increasing number of strikes & protests take place as more workers are left unpaid amid economic downturn & factory closures

China Labour Bulletin

Europe & Central Asia
Norway: Govt. pension fund updates expectations for firms on human rights & climate change

FTSE Global Markets  

Hungary: Court acquits leaders of aluminium firm accused of negligence over toxic spill killing 10 people


UK: Supermarkets ombudsman finds Tesco knowingly delayed payments to suppliers; Oxfam calls on firms to integrate ethics into purchasing practices

Traidcraft; BBC; UK Groceries Code Adjudicator; Oxfam GB

Further to last week's Update: Statoil responds to allegations of abuses of oil workers’ rights in Azerbaijan
Middle East & North Africa
UAE: Banks aim to increase female leadership in sector by 10%

Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies, on Khaleej Times (UAE)

Egypt: Italian student writing on labour union & workers' rights tortured & killed

Il Manifesto (Italy)

Company responses Non-responses
Upcoming webinar: "Business & Responsible Taxation" (18 Feb)

UN Global Compact and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Other forthcoming events:
  • webinar on children's rights in media & marketing (17 Feb, online)
  • labour standards, trafficking & supply chain management (18 Feb, online)
  • human rights law & the extractive industries (18-19 Feb, Panama City)
  • GreenBiz 2016 (23-25 Feb, Phoenix)
  • course for businesses impacted by the Modern Slavery Act (1 Mar, London)
Details of these and other events further in the future can be found here.  Please send relevant event information to Alex Janczenia:  
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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