Friday, August 22, 2008

Business & human rights: Weekly Update - August 20, 1008

From the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
Weekly Update: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - 20 Aug 2008

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* Burma Campaign UK says firms providing insurance to companies operating in Burma "support dictators"
- responses by ACE, Al Wasl, Arab Insurance Group, Lloyd's, OCBC Bank/Great Eastern Life, Sompo
- Atrium Underwriting, Catlin, Labuan Re, Pana Harrison, QBE, Target Insurance Brokers did not respond
- Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance has indicated it will provide a response, which we will include in a future Update
- we have invited Tokio Marine to respond; if it provides a response, we will include it in a future Update

* Survival Intl. names "unholy trinity - the three worst companies abusing tribal peoples' rights"
- responses by Perenco, Vedanta
- Samling did not respond

* PricewaterhouseCoopers donates $4 million towards education of Darfur refugee children in Chad

* Investors, textile & apparel associations demand that Uzbekistan stop using forced child labour in cotton fields
- C&A, Gap, Levi Strauss, Marks & Spencer, Target, Tesco, Victoria's Secret take measures to exclude Uzbek cotton from their products

* So. Africa: Housing at Petra Diamonds' Helam mine "appalling", "unfit for human habitation"
- company responds

* African firms including East African Breweries, Kenya Airways, Sasol start to take action on climate change

* UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls on US & Canadian Govts. to ensure Canadian mining firms respect indigenous land claims in USA

* Critique of IFC's & Equator Principles' human rights standards & recommendations to banks

* Petition to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights over health impacts of chemical & petroleum factories in Mossville, Louisiana

* US Justice Dept. likely to seek to indict some Blackwater guards involved in shooting in Iraq that left 17 civilians dead
- US tightens rules for security contractors in Iraq

* UK: Growing number of companies join list of "gay-friendly employers" by taking steps to abolish discrimination

* China: Some residents displaced by property developers in run-up to Olympics seek access to justice, but are detained & beaten, find limited remedies

* Public Eye Awards: Nominees invited for "most evil company of the year": firms that blatantly disregarded their social & environmental responsibility
- also award for "most courageous employee"

* Ethical Trading Initiative launches new guidance for retailers

* Further to last week's Update on India Supreme Court decision allowing Vedanta's project in Orissa:
- Amnesty Intl. says communities "should not be forcibly evicted"
- UK investment fund Martin Currie sells Vedanta shares over its mining of mountain seen as sacred by locals in Orissa

* Job posting: Senior Program Officer, Trade & Decent Work Program, Realizing Rights - to be located in New York, Accra or Monrovia

* Business & Human Rights Resource Centre appoints Ella Skybenko as its first Eastern Europe/Central Asia Researcher

* Español: México: Acusan a empresas de despojar a indígenas oaxaqueños de sus tierras para construir parques eólicos - firmas responden

* Español: Perú: Empresas del consorcio Camisea donan cocinas y gas a municipalidad de Pisco afectada por terremoto el año pasado

* Español: Vedanta, Perenco y Samling son las firmas que "mayores abusos" cometen contra derechos de los indígenas, dice Survival Intl.
- respuestas de Perenco y Vedanta (en inglés)
- Samling no respondió

* Español: México: Congreso exhorta a la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos a investigar posibles abusos relacionados a operaciones de empresa Minefinders
- Amnistía Intl. expresa preocupación por ataque contra líder de protestas contra la empresa

* Español: Argentina: Tribunal confirma sentencia por daño ambiental y contaminación del agua contra Diacrom

* Español: Perú: Indígenas toman instalaciones de Pluspetrol y protestan contra el gobierno por ley que "fragmenta" sus tierras

* Español: Argentina: Fiscal que investiga a Minera La Alumbrera por contaminación enfrenta pedidos de destitución

* Français : Kenya : Unilever garantit un thé durable avec Rainforest Alliance - doit satisfaire 200 critères environnementaux, sociaux & économiques

* Français : Côte d'Ivoire : Deux ans après le déversement de déchets toxiques, les responsables restent impunis, selon les ONG

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