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Business and Human Rights

    July 12, 2016

    By Tara Scurr, Business and Human Rights Campaigner with Amnesty International Canada

    "We were woken up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night. It sounded like a low-flying airplane or an earthquake – I couldn’t fathom what it was. We took the grandkids and ran for higher ground. We didn’t know what was happening. " — Resident of Likely, BC

    As morning dawned on August 4, 2014, it became clear that something terrible had happened near the tiny community of Likely, BC.  Residents awoke to the devastating news that the Mount Polley copper mine tailings pond had burst its banks, sending 25 million cubic litres of mine waste water and toxic slurry rushing down Hazeltine Creek. The onslaught of water and debris destroyed the creek and deposited masses of silt and sludge at the bottom of Quesnel Lake, metres deep in some areas. Residents, workers and surrounding communities were shaken to the core. 

    May 10, 2016

    National and international civil society organisations working to advance transparency and accountability in supply chains welcome this 10th Joint Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains.  The Forum represents a commitment by governments and companies to engage in more responsible sourcing and trading in line with applicable laws and standards, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

    As articulated in the UNGPs, states have an obligation under international law to take appropriate legislative, policy and other measures to protect people against human rights abuse by third parties such as companies. Additionally, the UNGPs require that companies “do no harm” and take pro-active steps to ensure that they do not cause or contribute to human rights abuses in their global operations – and respond to any human rights abuses if they do.

    April 22, 2016

    Responding to FIFA's announcement of a new oversight body to monitor working conditions on stadiums for the 2022 World Cup Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International's Gulf Migrants Rights Researcher said: 

    “Finally it appears FIFA is waking up to the fact that unless it takes concrete action, the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be built on the blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers. 

    “The announcement of an oversight body and Infantino's admission that FIFA must take human rights seriously are welcome steps in the right direction. Amnesty has already exposed human rights abuses on the Khalifa stadium and the surrounding Aspire Green Zone which need addressing right now. These cases also demonstrate the need to ensure FIFA's human rights monitoring is not limited just to stadiums but includes all other activities linked to the tournament.” 

     

    For more information please call Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations. 416-36-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    March 02, 2016

    Amnesty International UK Release

    Shell’s failure to maintain and protect pipelines may leave it liable to a raft of compensation claims from dozens of Niger Delta communities, said Amnesty International today as London law firm Leigh Day announced two more lawsuits against Royal Dutch Shell.

    The latest cases were filed today on behalf of two communities in the Niger Delta who have been affected by oil pollution, Bille and Ogale.

    In its investor briefing, Shell’s growing liabilities in the Niger Delta: Lessons from the Bodo court case, Amnesty International warns Shell’s investors that failures in the way the oil giant inspects and reports on oil spills could mask the scale of potential financial liability arising for Shell.

    March 01, 2016

    The Honourable Stéphane Dion
    Minister of Foreign Affairs

    March 1, 2016

    Dear Minister Dion,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you further to ongoing correspondence we have had with the Canadian government over the past year with respect to the sale of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs), manufactured in Canada, to Saudi Arabia. In particular, thank you for your letter of February 11th in response to our letter of January 15th which had been sent jointly with Cesar Jaramillo, the Executive Director of Project Ploughshares.

    Minister, as you are aware Amnesty International has been deeply concerned about the potential human rights impact of the sale of LAVs, reported to be in the range of $15 billion. Since news of the deal first came to our attention, over one year ago, we have consistently pressed the government to ensure that a full and comprehensive human rights assessment be conducted and that the results of that assessment be released publicly. No such information has yet to be made public.

    January 28, 2016

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL LUXEMBOURG PRESS RELEASE 

    Released 12:00PM CET, 29 January 2016

     Inadequate and incomplete regulations and policies on financing the arms sector mean there is little to stop banks from financing and investing in the production and transfer of internationally banned weapons or arms used to commit serious human rights violations, according to an Amnesty International Luxembourg report launched today.

    The report, Banks, arms and human rights violations, looks into the failures of the Luxembourg financial sector to put in place regulations, policies and procedures to effectively curb financial support for arms-related activities.

    While Luxembourg’s banks are in the spotlight, the report’s findings and recommendations are also applicable to other countries in the European Union and elsewhere.

    January 25, 2016

    An Amnesty International UK PRESS RELEASE
     
    Rights groups urge contenders to address labour abuses and discrimination
     
    The candidates seeking the FIFA presidency should sign up to a set of pledges to prevent human rights abuses and corruption linked to the World Cup and other FIFA events, said a group of leading NGOs ahead of a debate in the European Parliament featuring three of the five contenders on Wednesday (27 January).
     
    Amnesty International, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, Terre des Hommes, and Transparency International Germany have asked the candidates to commit - if elected president - to taking six clear steps that will put FIFA on the road to ensuring its events do not cause or contribute to human rights abuses and corruption. The FIFA presidential election takes place on 26 February.
     
    Kerry Moscoguiri, campaigns director at Amnesty International UK, said:
     

    January 18, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT 19 January 2016

    Major electronics brands, including Apple, Samsung and Sony, are failing to do basic checks to ensure that cobalt mined by child labourers has not been used in their products, said Amnesty International and Afrewatch in a report published today.

    The report, "This is what we die for: Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo power the global trade in cobalt", traces the sale of cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries, from mines where children as young as seven and adults work in perilous conditions.

    December 18, 2015

     

    US chemical giant Dow must respond to court summons and show up on Saturday at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s (CJM) court in Bhopal in relation to criminal charges around the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster, Amnesty International India said today.

    “Dow must stop dodging the Indian justice system and ignoring survivors who have suffered from the toxic fallout of the disaster for over three decades now,” said Aruna Chandrasekhar, Business and Human Rights Officer at Amnesty International India.

    Dow has ignored three previous, consecutive criminal court summons issued by the CJM since July 2013 for service on Dow in the US through official government channels. “We hope that the Indian and US governments have done their part to ensure that Dow complies with an official Indian court order,” said Aruna Chandrasekhar.

    November 30, 2015

    Released 00:01 GMT 01 December 2015

    Labour exploitation remains rampant in Qatar as the authorities fail to deliver significant reforms, Amnesty International said today before the fifth anniversary of Qatar winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

    Despite massive public exposure of the appalling conditions faced by most migrant construction workers, the Qatari authorities have done almost nothing effective to end chronic labour exploitation.

    “Too little has been done to address rampant migrant labour abuse. Qatar’s persistent labour reform delays are a recipe for human rights disaster,” said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf Migrant Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The reforms proposed by the government fail to tackle the central issues that leave so many workers at the mercy of employers, yet even these changes have been delayed.

    “Unless action is taken – and soon – then every football fan who visits Qatar in 2022 should ask themselves how they can be sure they are not benefiting from the blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers.

    November 27, 2015

    Myanmar’s government stands accused of putting profits before human rights at the Letpadaung copper mine, with continued detention of activists and continued refusal to investigate use of white phosphorous against peaceful protestors, said Amnesty International today.

    Three years ago, on 29 November 2012, security forces used white phosphorous, a highly toxic explosive substance, in a deliberate attack on villagers and monks who were protesting the negative impacts of the Letpadaung mine, part of the Monywa copper mining project in the Sagaing region of North-West Myanmar. Between 110 and 150 people were injured, with some suffering horrific burns and lifelong disability.

    The authorities are yet to investigate either the police or mining company Myanmar Wanbao (a subsidiary of Chinese mining company Wanbao), from whose compound part of the attack was launched.

    November 10, 2015

    •    20 years on from his execution, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s struggle continues

    •    Thousands still blighted by oil pollution

    •    Shell is yet to clean up the Niger Delta

    As hundreds of people remember the killing of environmental activists Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists executed 20 years ago, Amnesty International urged oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and Nigerian authorities to clean up the oil pollution in the Niger Delta.

    “It is heartbreakingly tragic to see how 20 years after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned bitterly for the clean-up of the oil pollution in the Niger Delta, we see very little has changed: the oil spills have not stopped, and Shell has still not cleaned up this huge environmental degradation,” said Amnesty International Nigeria Director M K Ibrahim.

    October 02, 2015

    Amnesty International U.S.A. Release 2 October 2015 10:00 am EDT 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amnesty International is calling on a U.S. court to reconsider a decision protecting some of the world’s largest companies from having to tell consumers that they were unable to prove their products have not funded armed groups contributing to conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries.

    Section 1502 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires companies to publicly report whether their products contain certain minerals whose trade helps fuel violence in Central Africa. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a rule to implement Section 1502. That rule requires companies to use specific language when describing their products that contain those minerals, saying that the products have “not been found to be DRC-conflict free.”

    September 30, 2015

    By Tara Scurr, Campaigner, Business and Human Rights  

     

    One year ago, Alex Neve and I were sitting in the Hotel Continental in Guatemala City, waiting for reporters to turn up for our press conference. We were about to launch a new Amnesty International report on mining and human rights. We’d been warned by our experienced Guatemalan media handler not to expect many reporters to show up. Imagine our delight when our press conference began and we saw that the room was packed with radio, print and TV reporters, NGOs, and human rights defenders from  communities affected by mining. It was standing room only.

    September 29, 2015

    Released 00:01 GMT 30 September 2015

    The Central African Republic’s (CAR) biggest traders have purchased diamonds worth several million dollars without adequately investigating whether they financed armed groups responsible for summary executions, rape, enforced disappearances and widespread looting, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    The report, Chains of Abuse: The global diamond supply chain and the case of the Central African Republic, documents several other abuses in the diamond sector, including child labour and tax abuse.

    CAR’s diamond companies could soon start exporting diamonds stockpiled during the on-going conflict in which 5,000 have died. An export ban in place since May 2013 will be partially lifted once the government meets conditions set in July 2015 by the Kimberley Process, which is responsible for preventing the international trade in blood diamonds. Before the conflict, diamonds represented half the country’s exports.

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