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Corporate Accountability

    July 23, 2015

    • Government refuses to investigate commodities giant Trafigura
    • Authorities lack tools and resources to take action
    • New laws and better resources needed to tackle corporate crime

    In a startling admission UK authorities have informed Amnesty International that they do not have the tools, resources or expertise to investigate whether the multinational commodities giant Trafigura conspired to dump toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire.

    The statement came after Amnesty International presented a legal brief and 5,000 page dossier to UK authorities containing a raft of evidence that Trafigura’s London-based staff may have intentionally orchestrated the dumping of the waste in Côte d’Ivoire’s capital Abidjan in August 2006.

    After the dumping more than 100,000 people sought medical attention. Côte d’Ivoire authorities reported at least 15 deaths.

    “The fact that the UK authorities do not have the tools, expertise or resources to investigate the case is truly shocking. This is tantamount to giving multinational companies carte

    May 25, 2015

    Diamonds. Murder. Torture. Broken promises. Important officials. International players. All the elements of a gripping narrative told in a Hollywood blockbuster. Except this isn’t fiction, and the person on trial was the journalist who made sure the world knew the story.

    Rafael Marques de Morais, Angolan journalist and human rights defender, spent the last nearly three years defending his right to tell what happened to the miners and villagers in the Lunda Norte diamond fields region.

    He alleged in a book that seven Angolan generals and two mining companies were complicit in the human rights violations he documented. Those generals and the companies then sued him for criminal defamation, first in Portugal where the book was published and then in Angola.


     

    On May 21st, 2015, Rafael Marques de Morais walked out of court a free man.

    He was facing over 10 years in prison and a fine of $1.2 million US dollars but all charges were dropped.

    January 21, 2015

    Legal action in the UK has driven Shell to make an out-of-court settlement of £55 million (CAD$83 million) to compensate the Bodo community of Nigeria after the livelihoods of thousands were destroyed by oil spills. The £55 million will be split between £35 million for 15,600 individuals and £20 million for the community.

    Shell’s long-overdue compensation payout is an important victory for the victims of corporate negligence.

    What happened?

    On August 28, 2008, a fault in the Trans-Niger pipeline caused a significant oil spill into Bodo Creek in Ogoniland, Nigeria. The pipeline is the responsibility of Shell. The spill, which was due to equipment failure, resulted in tens of thousands of barrels of oil polluting the land and creek surrounding Bodo, killing the fish that people depend on for food and livelihood. A second major spill began on December 7, 2008.

    How did Amnesty supporters make a difference?

    Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) have worked on the Bodo spills case since 2008, supporting the community to secure compensation and clean up.

    November 26, 2014
    Rampyari Bai is one of Bhopal’s most persistent survivors.

    Now aged 90, she began her struggle in the wake of the disaster. In 1984 she was living with her son and his wife in a shanty near the factory. Her daughter-in-law died during the gas leak.

    INDIA: ACTION FOR SURVIVORS ON 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL TRAGEDY

    September 04, 2014

    The Qatari authorities must immediately reveal the whereabouts and ensure the safety of two British human rights workers who went missing on Sunday and are feared to be held secretly and incommunicado in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    Researcher Krishna Upadhyaya and photographer Ghimire Gundev, who were investigating working conditions of Nepalese migrants in Qatar, have not been seen since they checked out of their hotel on 31 August. They had earlier expressed fears to friends and colleagues that they were being followed by plainclothes police on account of their work.

    “The enforced disappearance of Krishna Upadhyaya and Ghimire Gundev is extremely worrying and the pattern of events reported by the men before they went missing indicates that they may have been detained in relation to their human rights work,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “The Qatari authorities must urgently reveal the fate and whereabouts of these two men and dispel the growing fears that they are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.”

    August 19, 2014
    A woman, who suffers from burns she says are caused by toxic waste, protests outside the law courts in Abidjan.

    Residents of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, continue to suffer ill-health, eight years after multi-national oil-trader Trafigura dumped toxic waste in their communities. The dumping caused a human and environmental disaster yet residents still do not have answers to their questions about health and safety. Read Amnesty International's public statement. For full details of the Trafigura toxic waste dumping case, please see Injustice Incorporated: Advancing the Right to Remedy for Corporate Abuses of Human Rights. 

    May 08, 2014

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80  Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    May 8, 2014

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    As an integral part of Amnesty International’s ongoing effort, within Canada and globally, to encourage businesses and governments to ensure that company operations promote strong human rights protection and do not lead to human rights abuses, our international office has recently published the enclosed book, Injustice Incorporated: Advancing the Right to Remedy for Corporate Abuses of Human Rights.  We are officially launching the book in Canada today at a conference at Ryerson University’s Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility.
     

    May 08, 2014

    Toronto -- Amnesty International today launched in Canada a major new publication on the right to remedy for victims of corporate human rights abuses at a conference on corporate social responsibility at Ryerson University. The book, entitled Injustice Incorporated: Corporate Abuses and the Human Right to Remedy (Injustice Incorporated) provides a comprehensive framework for substantially changing the legal imbalance between vulnerable individuals and powerful companies.

    April 24, 2014

    Caption:A Bangladeshi mourner and relative of a victim of the Rana Plaza building collapse weeps as she takes part in a protest marking the first anniversary of the disaster at the site where the building once stood in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka on April 24, 2014. The Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1138 workers in the world's worst garment factory disaster. Western fashion brands faced pressure to increase help for victims as mass protests marked the anniversary. Thousands of people, some wearing funeral shrouds, staged demonstrations at the site of the now-infamous Rana Plaza factory complex.AFP PHOTO / Munir uz ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    By Joe Westby, Corporate Campaigner at Amnesty International

    April 14, 2014
    Open for Justice logo

    MPs are in their home ridings this week and next, so now is the perfect time to phone your MP and ask him or her to ensure that Canada is "Open for Justice". We know that some people have experience speaking with their MP, and others do not, so we have put together a handy kit to help you. Our Open for Justice kits contain a campaign backgrounder, a Q&A, tips on setting up a meeting with your MP, talking points for your meeting, and a pledge for your MP to sign. You can download your kit from the "resources" section on our Open for Justice website www.amnesty.ca/openforjustice

    Several Amnesty members and groups have already met with their MPs to discuss this important issue and two MPs have signed the pledge: MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood) and Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands). Will your MP be next? And we have an exciting new announcement. The next three Amnesty members who are successful in getting their MPs to sign the pledge will win an Amnesty prize! So don't delay - phone or meet with your MP today!

     

    September 24, 2013

    Piracy charges against activists on the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise are would be manifestly unfounded, Amnesty International said after the Russian authorities released a statement on the case on Tuesday afternoon.

    “There’s very little question that unarmed Greenpeace activists are not pirates,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International. 

    “Charges of piracy are manifestly unfounded in this case – having no basis in law or reality – and it’s profoundly damaging to level such serious charges so carelessly.

    “The Greenpeace activists must be released on a reasonable bail and given full access to defence lawyers, pending any possible trial.”

    April 17, 2013

    (Washington, D.C.) – The Supreme Court today dismissed the closely-watched case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co in a severe blow for victims of human rights abuses in the Niger Delta, and severely limited the reach of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a law enacted in 1789.

    The Court’s decision significantly reduces access to the U.S.courts for all survivors of human rights abuses committed abroad, a radical departure from its own precedent and a decision that Amnesty International believes flies in the face of the trend toward enhancing accountability for serious human rights violations.

    The Court’s ruling was in relation to the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. The suit was brought by members of the Ogoni community in the Niger Delta in relation to human rights violations committed against them and their families in the mid-1990s by the military government in power in Nigeria at the time.

    October 11, 2012

    A court in The Hague is today hearing a civil case filed against the oil company Shell by four farmers from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The plaintiffs allege that oil spills from Shell pipelines destroyed their livelihoods, and are demanding a proper clean up of the pollution and compensation.

    Amnesty International has researched and reported on the devastating impact of oil pollution on human rights in the Niger Delta, including the rights to food, water, health and livelihood. Amnesty has highlighted how Shell, the main operator on-land, often does not respond to oil spills quickly or effectively, and fails properly to clean up pollution. People in the Niger Delta who are affected by pollution are often denied their right to an effective remedy.

    September 06, 2012

    Negotiators from nine countries gathering outside Washington DC to draft a new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement must ensure that any new rules on copyright and patents adhere to core principles of transparency and uphold human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    “No one has the right to trade away our hard-fought legal protections for free speech and the right to health, and much less to do it behind closed doors,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director for Amnesty International USA.

    “It is time for TPP negotiators to show the public their cards and, more importantly, the draft text of the agreement.”

    This text has been kept a secret since negotiations began in 2007, but leaked information suggests that it would attempt to achieve some of the same objectives of the widely criticized Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement (ACTA).
     
    Specifically, leaked TPP draft text neglects protections for fair use and standard judicial guarantees – such as the presumption of innocence - and includes copyright provisions that could compromise free speech on the internet and access to educational materials.

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