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Weekly Update - 25 March 2015

Lead Story
(photo credit: Alex Brenner for Index on Censorship)
Angola: Journalist Rafael Marques faces defamation trial over his work exposing rights abuses in diamond industry

Forbes, Guardian (UK); Amnesty Intl.; Index on Censorship

Asia & Pacific
Europe & Central Asia
Middle East & North Africa

Briefing urges govts. to rectify "serious problems" in UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights

Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID)

  • briefing is summary of a forthcoming report
  • refers to allegations against Glencore in Democratic Republic of Congo & Acacia Mining (formerly African Barrick Gold) in Tanzania
  • we invited the companies to respond;  Acacia response provided, Glencore will respond to the full report when it is released
  • response by former UN Special Representative John Ruggie also provided
Norway: Govt. pension fund divests from 53 fossil fuel firms; climate justice advocates call for further divestment

Guardian (UK)

Illovo sugar company launches guidelines on land rights
  • company says guidelines support its "aim to be welcomed" in communities where it operates
Oxfam report highlights impact of corporate tax avoidance on financing essential services in developing countries & calls for action by EU

New case profiles: we have recently published the following profiles on leading business & human rights lawsuits:
Burkina Faso: Chamber of Mines supports levy to finance community development fund


Nigeria: NGO report alleges farmers being "forced off lands" that "thousands of families depend on" for food & livelihoods for Dominion Farms project

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, CEED, Grain, Global Justice Now (Jan 2015 report); Reuters

  • company denies report, says it is caught in "political war", has "no way forward"
Africa: World Bank Group panel's reflections at 2015 Mining Indaba on role of mining industry in addressing spread of diseases
Mexico: Death threats against members of NGO Bios Iguana over their opposition to mine in Zacualpan

Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos

  • unofficial English language translation of Spanish original
Peruvian farmer demands compensation from RWE for climate change impacts

Guardian (UK)

US federal court orders Newmont Mining to provide evidence relating to lawsuits in Peru over police repression at its Conga mine

EarthRights Intl.

Asia & Pacific
Bangladesh: "Slave-like" conditions reported at Jeans Plus factory - supplier to Inditex & LC Waikiki

Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights

  • we invited the companies to respond
  • responses by Inditex & Jeans Plus provided
  • we will indicate in a future update whether LC Waikiki responds
Cambodia: Workers & NGOs demand reinstatement of union leaders sacked by Manhattan Textiles (supplier to DuPont)

Community Legal Education Center (CLEC); Cambodia Daily

  • we invited Manhattan Textiles & DuPont to respond but they did not
Report finds social criteria in Swedish & UK public procurement improves working conditions at Pakistan surgical instrument factories

Swedwatch & British Medical Association

  • reports that "challenges remain in health & safety"
  • we invited companies purchasing surgical instruments from Pakistan to respond
  • responses provided from: Dental Directory, DTR Medical, IM-Medico, Instrumenta
Sri Lanka: Report alleges local populations are suffering serious abuses because of large-scale tourist developments

Society for Threatened People; Telegraph (UK)

  • allegations include: land grabs, lack of consultation & loss of livelihoods
  • we invited Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Maalu Maalu Resorts, Dutch Bay Resorts, Anilana Resorts, Jungle Beach Resorts, Sun Aqua Passikudah, Kuoni Group, TUI Group, Hotelplan Suisse, DER Touristik, Studiosus, Thomas Cook,Tour Asia to respond
  • responses provided from Hotelplan Suisse, Kuoni Group, Studiosus, TUI Group
  • we will note in a future update whether the other companies respond 
Caux Round Table Japan calls Tokyo Olympics to be sustainable, respect human rights
Europe & Central Asia
Evaluation of German OECD National Contact Point (NCP) procedures raises concerns about its partiality towards companies

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)

Greece: Govt. revokes Eldorado mining project permit following local opposition over environmental & social concerns

Coordinating committee of Ierissos against gold mining;  Financial Post (Canada)

  • 21 community members indicted for resisting mining project
Norway: Statoil releases information on payments to govts.; transparency advocates welcome precedent-setting move

Oxfam America; Global Witness; Reuters

Middle East & North Africa
Egypt: Activist sentenced to 6 months in prison for inciting workers to strike

Daily News Egypt

Qatar: French construction group Vinci faces allegations of forced labour involving migrant workers on building projects tied to 2022 World Cup 


  • article includes statement by Vinci denying allegations
Commentary: "Nothing New on the Nile" - Egypt's economic programmes are failing to benefit Egyptian people

Center for Economic and Social Rights; Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights

Company responses Non-responses
We are launching Spanish-only & French-only Weekly Update newsletters on 1 April - click on "update subscription preferences" below to sign up

OHCHR call for input on global fund to support capacity building on business & human rights (deadline: 27 Mar)

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Forthcoming events:
  • ethical sourcing forum (New York, 26-27 Mar)
  • debate on business policy & human rights in Myanmar (Washington DC, 26 Mar)
  • webinar on enhancing engagement with indigenous peoples (online, 26 Mar)
  • panel on human rights & corporate liability (Boston, 26 Mar)
  • lawyers' training course on intl. development & human rights (London, 28-29 Mar)
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:  
A partir del 1 de abril, nuestro Boletín de Actualización Semanal va a ser disponible también sólo en español y solo en francés - haz clic abajo en "update subscription preferences" para inscribirte

México: Amenazas de muerte a los integrantes de Bios Iguana por oponerse a la minería en Zacualpan

Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos; La Jornada; Misión Internacional y Nacional de Observación del caso Zacualpan; Diario de Colima; Proceso

Nicaragua: Audiencia ante la CIDH expone los impactos negativos del canal interoceánico sobre 373,000 personas


México: Ley General de Aguas privatiza el suministro del agua y beneficia empresas privadas como el Grupo Higa, dice reporte


Colombia: Alegan discriminación a las mujeres en el mundo laboral; Terpel y Ericsson incluyen políticas de género en sus empresas

La República (Colombia)

Audiencia temática ante la CIDH sobre empresas, derechos humanos y consulta (vídeo en portugués)

Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

México está por ratificar el Convenio 98 de la OIT sobre negociación colectiva

Confederación Sindical Internacional

Colombia: Pueblos indígenas enfrentan represión policial ante demandas por acceso a la tierra y denuncian acaparamiento por empresariado

Tejido de Comunicación del Pueblo Nasa - ACIN

Estados Unidos: Ex-trabajadora de Facebook demanda a la empresa por acoso y discriminación de genero


Perú: Autoridades rescatan a 56 niños y niñas sometidos a trabajo infantil en cultivos de arroz y empresas de langostinos

Diario Correo (Perú)

La version en français et celle en espagnol de nos «Actualités Hebdomadaires» seront lancées le 1er avril – cliquez sur «update subscription preferences» au bas de ce mail pour y souscrire

Sherpa dépose une plainte en France contre Vinci pour travail forcé au Qatar ; Vinci dément et porte plainte en diffamation

Le Figaro (France); Sherpa; Vinci

Chine : 14 personnes portent plainte contre Veolia pour pollution de l’eau à Lanzhou

Forum Alternatif Mondial de l’Eau

La Commission européenne présente son «Paquet pour la transparence fiscale» ; les ONG demandent la fin de la confidentialité

Commission européenne ; Sherpa (France)

France : 832 cheminots marocains poursuivent la SNCF pour discrimination supposée

Le Figaro (France)

Malaisie : Des travailleurs migrants victimes de travail forcé ; les multinationales s’organisent pour y pallier

Libération (France)

Un fermier péruvien demande à RWE une contribution financière pour son impact sur le changement climatique ; RWE répond

Basta! (France)

Côte d'Ivoire : Nestlé fournit de l’eau, des installations sanitaires et une formation à l’hygiène aux populations rurales (Côte d'Ivoire)

Norvège : Statoil devient le premier groupe pétrolier à révèler les royalties qu'il paie aux gouvernements


L’OMS classe l’herbicide Roundup comme un cancérogène « probable » ; Monsanto dément

Ouest France

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