Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Business & human rights: Weekly Update - May 28, 2008

From the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
Weekly Update: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - 28 May 2008

CLICK THIS LINK FOR ALL TOP STORIES added past 7 days / Principales noticias / Articles de premier plan:

Español: ver abajo - Français : voir ci-dessous

* Commentary on John Ruggie's 2008 report: US lawyers say basic concepts are sound and should be supported by business

* Speech by John Ruggie at Chatham House, 22 May: "Next steps in business and human rights"

* "Red Flags" website lists 9 activities which should alert companies to possible legal risks in high-risk areas

* USA: Burger King & Coalition of Immokalee Workers reach agreement to improve tomato pickers' pay & working conditions

* China earthquake: Construction firms accused of failing to meet safety standards on buildings which collapsed

* Bangladesh: Allegations of child labour, pollution, health & safety violations by subcontractors of Telenor, Grameenphone
- includes company responses

* Genocide Intervention Network finds companies targeted for divestment from Sudan underperformed their competitors

* Sir Geoffrey Chandler comments on joint NGO statement re John Ruggie's report

* Survey of the practices of National Human Rights Institutions prepared by Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of John Ruggie's mandate

* India: Reliance partners with UNAIDS to expand access to HIV/AIDS services for the poor

* USA: Supreme Court rules workers can sue firms over retaliation following race or age discrimination complaints

* So. Africa: Media accused of fuelling xenophobia through "constant anti-foreigner reporting"

* Diamond Development Initiative releases "Standards & Guidelines for Sierra Leone's Artisanal Diamond Mining Sector"

* Ghana: Government establishes task force to help mining make more positive contribution to development

* Center for Democracy & Technology says internet companies must exercise due diligence to minimise human rights risks - calls for voluntary industry principles

* EIRIS finds most FTSE 100 firms progressing on environmental & social issues - small minority continue poor performance

* Español: Declaración conjunta de ONGs al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU sobre el reporte del representante especial para empresas & derechos humanos John Ruggie

* Español: Chile: Senador y sindicatos denuncian "violación sistemática" de los derechos de los trabajadores en empresas de seguridad

* Español: BBVA dona un millón de dólares para las víctimas del terremoto en China

* Español: Perú: Minera Volcán es acusada de "crímenes ambientales que atentan contra la vida y salud" de pobladores de Cerro Pasco
- invitamos a Minera Volcán a responder pero hasta la fecha no hemos recibido su respuesta

* Español: España: Bankinter y Servimedia son premiadas por su labor de integración de personas con discapacidad

* Español: Centroamérica: Denuncian discriminación laboral contra personas discapacitadas

* Español: España: Mueren 4 trabajadores en obras del estadio del Valencia - sindicatos apuntan a "horarios excesivos"
- empresa responde

* Français : Soumission conjointe d'ONGs au Conseil des Droits de l'Homme de l'ONU au sujet du rapport du Représentant spécial John Ruggie

* Français : Consoles de jeu vidéo : Greenpeace épingle Sony, Microsoft et Nintendo pour des substances chimiques dangereuses
- Article (en anglais) avec des réponses de Nintendo, Sony. Nous avons invité Microsoft à répondre. Si nous recevons une réponse nous l'inclurons dans une prochaine actualité

* Français : Sénégal: Les entreprises engagées dans la lutte contre le Sida pourront bénéficier de l'appui financier du gouvernement

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Business & human rights: Weekly Update - May 21, 2008

From the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
Weekly Update: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - 21 May 2008

CLICK THIS LINK FOR ALL TOP STORIES added past 7 days / Principales noticias / Articles de premier plan:

Español: ver abajo - Français : voir ci-dessous

* Joint NGO statement on report by John Ruggie, UN Special Representative on business & human rights

* John Ruggie: "Business and Human Rights: A Political Scientist's Guide to Survival in a Domain Where Lawyers and Activists Reign"

* "In the wake of ArcelorMittal" - NGOs allege social, environmental abuses in India, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, USA, others
- ArcelorMittal response

* China: Earthquake relief efforts by companies

* Company contributions to Burma cyclone relief

* "Monsanto's Harvest of Fear" - Vanity Fair report details environmental legacy, treatment of farmers
- Monsanto's letter to Vanity Fair
- Monsanto letter to Resource Centre

* Launch of "Red Flags: Liability risks for companies operating in high-risk zones", 23 May, London

* Co-operative Bank (UK) declines loans to companies controlled by sovereign wealth funds of countries with poor human rights records
- Co-op Bank & Amnesty Intl. mark 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration

* Burma Campaign UK says Total has helped to keep in power government that is "killing thousands by denying aid"
- Total's response

* US Senate committee hearing on "Global Internet Freedom: Corporate Responsibility and the Rule of Law"
- Testimonies by Google, Yahoo!, Cisco, Human Rights Watch

* Civil society orgs. call on UN Global Compact to influence PetroChina over Darfur
- UN Global Compact response

* UK: CAFOD, Fair Pensions alert pension funds to risks of investing in mining projects that harm human rights, environment

* Shell threatened with potential lawsuit in Netherlands over pollution in Nigeria

* IBM & researchers launch "supercomputer" to help tackle global hunger

* Debate between Georg Kell & Bart Slob: Is the UN Global Compact raising corporate responsibility standards?

* Global Reporting Initiative conference - podcast of special event on human rights

* Calls for EU to make trade conditional on efforts to end child labour
- Comments invited on paper: "Child Labour and CSR - What should the European Union do?"

* Interview with Cordula Droege, Intl. Committee of the Red Cross, on Swiss Govt. initiative on private military & security firms
- Expert meeting examines legal framework governing PMSCs

* further to our 30 Apr Update: Total response to EarthRights report on Burma

* further to our 30 Apr Update: ArcelorMittal response to "Toxic 100" report

* Zimbabwe Business Council takes steps to strengthen private sector response to HIV/AIDS

* Job announcement: Researcher on extractive companies, Amnesty Intl., London

* Job announcement: Short-term Assistant Policy Officer, Economic Relations, Amnesty Intl., London

* Job announcement: Corporate Social Responsibility consultants with knowledge of human rights - Maplecroft, UK

* Español: Intermón Oxfam pide a Repsol YPF que respete a pueblos indígenas
- presidente de la empresa dice estar preparando documento al respecto

* Español: Telefónica dona 1 millón de euros para las víctimas del terremoto en China - ayuda orientada a los niños

* Español: Argentina: Cámara Federal rechaza decisión del juez que sobreseyó a tres directivos de empresa Gilmar diciendo que trabajo semi-esclavo de inmigrantes es "costumbre boliviana"

* Español: Ecuador: Guardias de seguridad privada incurren en delitos que atribuyen a pésimas condiciones laborales

* Español: Argentina: Cervecería Quilmes lanza campaña de concientización sobre la seguridad en el trabajo

* Español: España: Critican autorización a fábrica que emite "sustancias cancerígenas" - consejería dice que empresa cumple normativa

* Español: Argentina: Preparan denuncia ante la OCDE por supuesto impacto ambiental y sanitario de Shell - empresa dice cumplir con requisitos

* Français : "Avis sur la responsabilité des entreprises en matière de droits de l'homme", Com. Nle. Consultative des Droits de l'Homme (France)

* Français : Débat sur les multinationales & les droits de l'homme, avec ABB, Areva, OIT, Déclaration de Berne, International Alert

* Français : Inde : Manifestation d'autochtones contre un projet minier de Vedanta
- Article avec la réponse de Vedanta (seulement en anglais)

* Français : Les entreprises françaises se mobilisent pour les sinistrés du séisme en Chine

* Français : Chili: Les Mapuches chassés de leurs terres par des entreprises - absence de recours juridique et politique

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NGOs' joint response to UN report

NGOs have issued a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council in response to about the UN Special Representative on Human Rights John Ruggie's recently released report.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Naomi Klein on Burma.

This is cross-posted on my personal blog. Here is an excerpt by a must-read article by Naomi Klein on the crises in Burma and China.
None of this compares with the rage boiling over in Burma, where cyclone survivors have badly beaten at least one local official, furious at his failure to distribute aid. There have been dozens of reports of the Burmese junta taking credit for supplies sent by foreign countries. It turns out that they have been taking more than credit--in some cases they have been taking the aid. According to a report in Asia Times, the regime has been hijacking food shipments and distributing them among its 400,000 soldiers. The reason speaks to the threat the disaster poses to the very existence of the regime. The generals, it seems, are "haunted by an almost pathological fear of a split inside their own ranks...if soldiers are not given priority in aid distribution and are unable to feed themselves, the possibility of mutiny rises." Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, confirms that before the cyclone, the military was already coping with a wave of desertions.

This relatively small-scale theft of food is fortifying the junta for its much larger heist--the one taking place via the constitutional referendum the generals have insisted on holding, come hell and high water. Enticed by high commodity prices, Burma's generals have been gorging off the country's natural abundance, stripping it of gems, timber, rice and oil. As profitable as this arrangement is, junta leader Gen. Than Shwe knows he cannot resist the calls for democracy indefinitely.

Taking a page out of the playbook of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the generals have drafted a Constitution that allows for elections but guarantees that no future government will ever have the power to prosecute them for their crimes or take back their ill-gotten wealth. As Farmaner puts it, after elections the junta leaders "are going to be wearing suits instead of boots." The cyclone, meanwhile, has presented them with one last, vast business opportunity: by blocking aid from reaching the highly fertile Irrawaddy delta, hundreds of thousands of mostly ethnic Karen rice farmers are being sentenced to death. According to Farmaner, "that land can be handed over to the generals' business cronies" (shades of the beachfront land grabs in Sri Lanka and Thailand after the Asian tsunami). This isn't incompetence, or even madness. It's laissez-faire ethnic cleansing.

If the Burmese junta avoids mutiny and achieves these goals, it will be thanks largely to China, which has vigorously blocked all attempts at the United Nations for humanitarian intervention in Burma. Inside China, where the central government is going to great lengths to show itself as compassionate, news of this complicity could prove explosive. Will China's citizens receive this news? They just might. Beijing has, up to now, displayed an awesome determination to censor and monitor all forms of communication. But in the wake of the quake, the notorious "Great Firewall" censoring the Internet is failing badly. Blogs are going wild, and even state reporters are insisting on reporting the news.

This may be the greatest threat that natural disasters pose to repressive regimes. For China's rulers, nothing has been more crucial to maintaining power than the ability to control what people see and hear. If they lose that, neither surveillance cameras nor loudspeakers will be able to help them.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DOXA Film Festival: Diamond Road

The DOXA Film Festival is taking place in Vancouver from May 27, to June 1. Among those films being shown are this gem (no pun intended), sponsored by MiningWatch Canada:
Diamond Road
Thursday May 29 | 9:00 pm | Pacific Cinémathèque

Field Director: Nisha Pahuja, Canada, 2007, 100 minutes

North Americans frequently associate diamonds with love. These rocks have most often been seen as the ultimate sign of true love, in the form of the engagement ring. In recent years, however, we have had the opportunity to learn more about the search for the hardest and most sought after gem. The main thing that we’ve learned is that it can be a bloody business. But who is involved, and can the diamond business become a more ethical one?

Twenty-four tons of diamonds are mined worldwide each year. Many people will help move the gems through the “pipeline.” In Diamond Road we get to meet some of the individuals who bring diamonds to the market. The path of the stones crosses five continents, and they move through the hands of prospectors, miners, cutters, jewelers, gem brokers, dealers, soldiers and smugglers.

An orthodox Jewish-American broker speaks at huge diamond industry meetings, discussing conditions in African mines to convince his colleagues to pay miners a fair wage. Seen as a trouble-maker, he travels with bodyguards wearing a bulletproof vest. Met with blank stares by his audience, he tries to team up with an African-American designer who specializes in making diamond jewelry for millionaire hip-hop artists. They travel together to Sierra Leone to meet some miners in person.

We meet a young Indian boy who is enrolled at a very young age as an apprentice to become a diamond cutter. India is now home to the best diamond cutters in the world. We attend an unbelievably lavish wedding within one of India’s richest “diamond families.”

Diamond Road examines these stories and others to bring us closer to the people whose lives revolve around diamonds. We experience the dreams and desires as well as the greed, conflict and tragedy within this complex, international business. A more personal look into this world has not been captured on film before.
Director Biography

Nisha Pahuja is a documentary filmmaker, researcher and writer based in Toronto. Her directorial debut, Bollywood Bound was screened at numerous film festivals across Canada, the U.S., Asia and Europe to excellent review. It was widely telecast in North America and Asia. Pahuja’s print writing has appeared in Elle magazine and various arts and fiction anthologies. Five years ago, she read an article about the diamond trade and was instantly hooked by the story.

Business & human rights: Weekly Update - May 14, 2008

From the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
Weekly Update: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - 14 May 2008

CLICK THIS LINK FOR ALL TOP STORIES added past 7 days / Principales noticias / Articles de premier plan:

Español: ver abajo - Français : voir ci-dessous

* Burma cyclone:
- CSR Asia reviews 50 companies that do business with Burma - finds only PTT, Total had announced aid by 7 May
- CSR Asia update: Describes steps by Exotissimo, Lonely Planet, Abercrombie & Kent, Asia TransPacific Journeys, Google, Microsoft, Intrepid Travel
- Chevron to give $2 million in cyclone relief aid
- Business school professors call on firms with business links to Burma to provide relief
- Abbott, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson and others give medical aid to victims
- Leber Jeweler says cyclone is country's "latest catastrophe" after years of govt. abuses; company continues work with Jewelers' Burma Relief Project

* Joint initial views on UN Special Representative John Ruggie's 2008 report, by Intl. Org. of Employers, Intl. Chamber of Commerce, Business & Industry Advisory Committee to OECD

* Namibia: PricewaterhouseCoopers report finds many companies not doing enough to tackle HIV/AIDS

* Project Kaleidoscope by McDonald's, Disney, Interfaith Center & others, on improving supply chain working conditions - final report

* Colombia: Chiquita's ties to armed groups - 60 Minutes report (USA)
- includes interviews with Chiquita CEO, & with paramilitary leader

* Letter from Louise Arbour & Georg Kell: How companies can mark 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

* Mexico: UNICEF says 300,000 children work illegally on farms, often at dangerous jobs producing food for export

* De Beers "Diamond Dialogue" on "Business integrity in Africa - Accountability as the basis for sustainable development" - report of latest discussion

* Colombia: War on Want report on displacement & violence to make way for palm oil cultivation
- industry says abuses are "isolated cases"

* Blackwater unlikely to be prosecuted in USA for Iraq shooting - individual guards may face charges

* US Supreme Court, lacking quorum, allows apartheid reparations case to proceed

* Ghana: Unilever, World Food Programme in partnership to combat child hunger

* UK: Govt. revokes recruitment agency's license over forced labour of migrant flower pickers - Timberland Homes denies allegations

* Iraqi workers at British Embassy in Baghdad allege sexual harassment by KBR managers
- company denies allegations

* UN Global Compact US Network meeting on business & human rights, 28 April - report

* Africa: Telecom firms launch toll-free mobile service in remote areas to increase access to emergency medical service

* Job announcements, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
- South Asia Researcher, India - deadline 23 June
- Eastern Europe/Central Asia Researcher, Kiev - deadline 23 June
- Legal research interns, London - deadline 2 June

* Job announcement, Intl. Federation for Human Rights (FIDH): Program Officer, "Business & human rights", Paris - deadline 25 May

* Español: Colombia: Líder paramilitar dice que "todas las empresas bananeras de Urabá" le pagaron a grupos armados

* Español: España: Greenpeace exige que se ponga fin a la "catástrofe sanitaria y ambiental" causada por empresa Fertiberia

* Español: BBVA y la OEI firman convenio para mejorar la educación infantil en América Latina

* Español: Uruguay: Trabajadores se movilizan contra Prosegur por mejoras salariales, de higiene y seguridad

* Español: México: Permanecen impunes desastres en empresas agroquímicas Anaversa y Cromatos de México que afectaron seriamente la salud humana

* Español: España: Se lanza campaña para sensibilizar consumidores sobre derechos humanos en las cadenas de suministro

* Español: Tesis de Miriam Soto (México) sobre activismo cívico ambiental y laboral ante las prácticas negativas de empresas multinacionales

* Français : Birmanie : Total fera un don de 2 millions de dollars pour les victimes du cyclone, mais reste réticent à prêter ses hélicoptères aux ONG ou à l'ONU

* Français : Rép. Dém. du Congo : SEP-Congo contribue à la lutte contre le Sida dans le secteur des transports via le Programme alimentaire mondial

* Français : L'Indonésie veut une huile de palme certifiée écologique

* Français : Opportunité de travail : Chargé(e) de programme « Entreprises et droits de l'Homme », Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'Homme (FIDH), date limite 25 mai

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Burma investment sanctions filled with loopholes

From Embassy magazine on April 30:
Opposition members are calling into question the effectiveness of Canada's trade sanctions against Burma's military regime after documents from Trade Minister David Emerson's office revealed Canada is not systematically tracking which companies are investing in the Southeast Asian country.

In December 2007, following a crackdown by the Burmese military junta on pro-democracy protesters, Canada invoked the Special Economic Measures Act against Burma. Doing so prohibits Canadians and Canadian financial institutions from directly or indirectly trading with the Southeast Asian country, and banned new investment there.

However, a document obtained by NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar from Mr. Emerson's office reads that "there is no requirement for Canadian companies to register their business activities with the department," and that "the department does not have information regarding Canadian companies or individuals who have indirect investment through third-party companies in Burma."

In addition, the document reads that "there is no requirement by companies to advise us of their investment intentions in Burma."

"This is a paper tiger," Mr. Dewar said Monday of the sanctions. "They don't have any mechanism to actually monitor who is investing in Burma.... To say that we're going to crack down on the military junta by way of restricting Canadian investment in Burma is all for naught."

Mr. Dewar said the government needs to address this serious loophole immediately.

"At the end of the day, what is the government actually doing to restrict investment in Burma and to find out what's going on in Burma?" he asked. "Why can't our government tell us to a dime and to a company who is investing in Burma?"

In a scrum Monday, Mr. Emerson defended the effectiveness of the government's sanctions.

"The evidence is that the sanctions are working," he said. "There are financial penalties, companies are divesting, the trade is dropping. Everything we are able to track in terms of normal streams of data would suggest there is almost no business being done with Burma right now."

However, he acknowledged some Canadian business with Burma likely continues.

"Is there zero?" he said. "I doubt that it's zero, but I'm not able to tell you specifically who might be doing what."

Mr. Emerson said it is nearly impossible to track all investment, especially indirect, in the complex global economy.

"The reality is, if you start to look at indirect investment flows, you can funnel it through so many different companies, through so many different countries [before ending] up in the prohibited country," he said. "I challenge somebody to come up with a rigorous workable system for tracking that because it is very, very difficult."

Mr. Emerson added that if somebody brings a specific example of Canadian investment in Burma to the department's attention, "we'll certainly follow up on that."

Liberal MP Larry Bagnell, chair and founder of Parliamentary Friends of Burma, recently visited the Thai-Burmese border and met with Burmese refugee leadership.

He said that Canadian sanctions are "some of the toughest sanctions in the world" and that the Burmese refugees welcome them.

"The people there are very happy with the sanctions that Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia have put in place," he said. "They are helping. They are making an effect when you put them all together."

However, he said the Burmese refugees told him Burma's neighbours, with whom the country does the most business, need to get on board.

"They're upset that the ASEAN counties, the ones close to Burma that could really have an effect, have not put on the same sanctions," he said. "India, Thailand and China—those are the biggest economic partners of the dictatorship in Burma, the ones that could really make a difference."

Mr. Bagnell said that Canada, by imposing tough sanctions, is already leading by example, and that it should step up its diplomatic efforts.

"We should be lobbying hard in the international forum for India, China and Thailand to cut not only economic sanctions, but to stop selling weapons, even indirectly, to the dictatorship."

CPP Burmese Investments?

Despite the introduction of measures against Burma under the SEMA, some say Canadian companies remain invested in the country, which the ruling military junta calls Myanmar.

Testifying before the House Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on April 8, executive director of the Canadian Friends of Burma Tin Maung Htoo made specific allegations against a number of Canadian companies.

Mr. Htoo also said the Canada Pension Plan, which Canadian workers are obligated to contribute to, holds shares in a number of companies operating in Burma, including Ivanhoe Mines, TransCanada, Power Corporation, Chevron-Unocal and French energy giant Total.

Mr. Htoo said these investments show SEMA was proving to be less than effective, and called on the government to set up a task force for the enforcement of the measures imposed last year.

"There are a number of measures that are, of course, law right now, but who monitors and who imposes these measures is still a question for us," he told the committee. "That's why I strongly ask the government to set up a task force."

While the government has not established a task force, as recommended by Mr. Htoo, there is at least one official doing some investigations of his own.

Liberal Senator Percy Downe has taken it upon himself to find out if the Canada Pension Plan is complying with SEMA, and to find out exactly what investments it holds in Burma.

It is important, the Liberal senator told Embassy Monday, that the pension fund is in full compliance as it manages Canadian taxpayer's money.

"[I want] an explanation for Canadians who are depending on the CPP to fund their retirement," he said. "Every month you contribute to this—you have no choice—so Canadians would not want their CPP deductions to be going to a repressive dictatorship."

On October 16, Mr. Downe addressed a letter to David Denison, president and CEO of the Canada Pension Plan, expressing his "deep concern over the ongoing violence in Burma" and asking whether the CPP has "any direct or indirect holdings in companies operating in Burma"

A reply from Mr. Denison, dated December 20, said the CPP was "undertaking a portfolio review to ensure CPP investment board is in compliance" with SEMA.

The CPP reported back again on March 6, saying that as a result of a review of its 2,600 investments, "the CPP Investment Board is in full compliance with the [SEMA] measures announced by the Government of Canada."

"No companies in our public equity portfolio, to the best of our knowledge, have material operations in Burma," wrote Mr. Denison.

However, he added, the CPP had "identified several Canadians and international companies for direct engagement to encourage improved transparency and corporate responsibility strategy with regard to the small portions of their business that might include operations in Burma."

Mr. Downe said that, with these answers, the CPP has left itself some "weasel room," and that questions remain unanswered about how Canadian pension dollars are being invested. He added that he is drafting another letter to ask for further clarification on the issue of investments in Burma.

"We need further clarification, to be polite," he said.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Business & human rights: Weekly Update - May 7, 2008

From the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:Weekly Update: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - 7 May 2008

CLICK THIS LINK FOR ALL TOP STORIES added past 7 days / Principales noticias / Articles de premier plan:

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* John Ruggie sets out his 3 main reservations about recommending a treaty process on business & human rights at this time

* UK Prime Minister convenes major companies in "Business Call to Action" to tackle world poverty
- booklet describes steps by Vodafone, Sumitomo Chemical, SAB Miller, Reuters, Microsoft, Diageo, Coca-Cola, Citi to help combat poverty

* ActionAid report "Taxing Solutions: How tighter tax rules for big business could help end poverty"

* Lawsuit against Occidental over pollution in Amazon to be heard in Peru, not USA

* Indonesia: Unilever pledges to use only sustainable palm oil to halt deforestation

* Dream for Darfur gives higher marks to Adidas, McDonald's, Kodak for publicly urging action on Darfur; poor marks to 16 other Olympic sponsors
- full report includes company responses; some companies criticise report's approach
- Coca-Cola CEO defends company's actions in Financial Times

* Former Amnesty USA Director William Schultz on business & repressive regimes

* Africa: Consumers International calls for tougher monitoring procedures to end dumping of e-waste

* Judith Samuelson of Aspen Institute: As "big investors" increasingly factor environmental issues, companies turn to activists for advice (in Harvard Business Review)

* Bayer response to "Toxic 100" report (further to last week's Update)
- ArcelorMittal has not responded

* New lawsuit summary profiles provided by the Resource Centre:
- Lawsuits against Chiquita re: armed groups in Colombia
- Lawsuit against German companies re: alleged complicity in genocide of Hereros in Namibia, early 20th century
- Lawsuits against US companies for reparations re: 19th-century slavery

* Colombia: Intl. Alert report "Exploring the peace dividend" - how costs of conflict should lead to business support for peace

* Intl. Law Assocation conference, London, 16-17 May: "Does International Law Mean Business - A Partnership for Progress?" (includes panels on human rights & lecture by John Ruggie)

* Español: Compañías de gas y petróleo carecen de transparencia en sus pagos, obstaculizando la lucha contra la pobreza (Transparencia Internacional)

* Español: Ecuador: Carrefour promueve el desarrollo de pequeños agricultores a través de su "comercio solidario"

* Español: Perú: Estudio revela discriminación racial de andinos y negros entre la clase empresarial

* Español: "El papel de las instituciones en la inversión socialmente responsable" (opinión del director asociado, UBS España)

* Español: México: Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos investiga "trata laboral" y "esclavitud" por parte de maquiladoras en Guanajuato

* Español: Empresa ISA presenta los aprendizajes y retos de operar en el contexto del conflicto en Colombia

* Español: España: Fundación ONCE denuncia que empresas no cumplen la obligación de reservar un 2% de sus plazas para personas con discapacidad

* Français : Interventions & conclusions du Séminaire sur la Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises dans l'espace francophone - Rabat, 28 fév-1 mars 2008

* Français : Huile de palme en Indonésie : Greenpeace salue l'appel d'Unilever pour un moratoire sur la deforestation

* Français : Rép. Dém. du Congo : Un député martèle contre la pollution pétrolière à Moanda

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Business & human rights: Weekly Update - May 1, 2008

From the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:
Weekly Update: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - 30 Apr 2008

CLICK THIS LINK FOR ALL TOP STORIES added past 7 days / Principales noticias / Articles de premier plan:

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* "Survey of Scope & Patterns of Alleged Corporate-Related Human Rights Abuse": Report prepared for John Ruggie
- final version will be Appendix 2 to his UN Human Rights Council report

* Interview with UN Special Representative John Ruggie about his work & recommendations

* Commentary on Ruggie's 2008 report by Robert Senser, Human Rights for Workers

* Economist article on business & human rights, report by John Ruggie

* USA: "Toxic 100" list of top air polluters, by Political Economy Research Institute, Univ. of Massachusetts - we invited top 10 to respond
- responses by Archer Daniels Midland, Dow, Du Pont, ExxonMobil GE, Kodak, Nissan, US Steel
- Arcelor Mittal and Bayer have not yet responded - we will indicate in next week's Update whether they do

* "Human Rights: Everybody's Business" - Mary Robinson

* India: Titan Industries' initiatives to help disabled people

* Spain: Video footage of assaults by security companies' guards working in Madrid subway triggers criminal investigation

* Authors call on Tesco to drop libel actions against critics in Thailand, saying it is stifling freedom of expression
- article includes Tesco response

* Sasol, expanding into countries criticised for their human rights records, adopts more systematic approach to human rights

* Transparency Intl. says most oil & gas multinationals fall short on revenue disclosure, hampering efforts to fight poverty
- report surveys 42 companies

* "The Future of Corporate Responsibility", by Georg Kell, UN Global Compact

* DHL's logistical support helps Mercy Corps deliver medicines to underserved Iraqis

* Burma: EarthRights says Chevron "financing & profiting from human rights abuses"
- Reuters article includes company response

* Report prepared for John Ruggie: "State Responsibilities to Regulate and Adjudicate Corporate Activities under Inter-American Human Rights System"

* Why are children's rights an issue for investors?

* USA: Seventh Generation to train students on activism with Greenpeace

* Morocco: Mattress factory fire kills 55 - owner, manager detained

* Summary report of UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate meeting

* Credit Suisse donates $1 million to UNICEF, after reports of child labour in Pakistan used for its football promotion scheme

* Español: España: Prosegur, Casesa y Falcon Seguridad presuntamente implicadas en agresiones físicas en el metro de Madrid - empresas responden

* Español: Bolivia: Denuncian que más de 8000 niños trabajan en zafras de azúcar en Santa Cruz "sin remuneración alguna"

* Español: Entrevista a Mauricio Lazala, director para Latinoamérica del Centro de Información sobre Empresas y Derechos Humanos

* Español: Colombia: Empresa de alimentos Frisby impulsa formación educativa de niños pobres

* Español: Avanza en EE.UU. causa abierta contra Mercedes-Benz por su supuesta participación en desapariciones de obreros durante la dictadura en Argentina

* Español: Colombia: Amnistía Internacional emite acción urgente por amenazas de muerte contra sindicalistas opuestos a minería en Bolívar

* Español: Argentina: Manpower firma convenio marco para prevenir y erradicar el trabajo infantil

* Français : Maroc : 55 personnes périssent dans un incendie à l'usine de matelas Rosamor - les portes étaient verrouillées

* Français : Adidas insiste sur l'importance des droits de l'homme mais maintient son engagement pour les JO de Pékin

* Français : Compagnies pétrolières et gazières ne sont pas assez transparentes, freinant la lutte contre la pauvreté (Transparency Intl.)

* Français : Credit Suisse fait verser CHF 1 million à l'UNICEF après avoir découvert que des ballons promotionels auraient pu être fabriqués par des enfants

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