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Corporate Accountability

    May 06, 2019
    Ruling on Shell a 'vital step towards justice' for Nigerian widows

    On May 1, the District Court of The Hague, Netherlands, issued an interim ruling in the case brought by Esther Kiobel and three other women with regard to Shell’s involvement in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military.

    It ruled in favour of the plaintiffs: the court does have jurisdiction over the case and that this should not be time barred.

    The court also ruled that Shell should hand over some confidential internal documents to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that they would have the opportunity to examine witnesses. The court will address the substance of the case next.

    This decision marks a vital step towards justice for Esther and the others and sends important message to other victims around the world who are seeking to hold powerful corporations to account but struggle to access justice.

    April 17, 2019
    Amnesty Launches New "Call the Minister" Action for Justice for Mount Polley Mine Disaster

    February 14, 2019

    This week, a Dutch court in The Hague heard the first arguments in an historic case against Shell brought by Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula. It was a long, challenging, emotional day.

    The hearing started with two powerful statements by Esther Kiobel and Victoria Bera. The widows’ lawyer claimed that Shell was instrumental to the human rights violations of the Ogoni people. They argued that: Shell requested the Nigerian regime to end the peaceful protests against its operations in Ogoniland; provided logistics as well as money to crash the demonstrations; and had a crucial role in the arrest, torture and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barinem Kiobel, Baribor Bera and the rest of the Ogoni 9.

    Shell challenged these allegations on procedural grounds/jurisdiction, stating that the case should be time barred and should belong to a Nigerian court rather than a Dutch one because the events took place long ago, in Nigeria.

    Esther Kiobel’s lawyer challenged these arguments, and asked the court to order the release of 1000 documents marked as confidential by Shell.

    February 14, 2019

    In collaboration with the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, we are launching a daily tweet-your-MP campaign that will continue until an effective ombudsperson is in place with the #Power2Investigate. Please join us!

    We’re in a stand-off. Signs show that an ombudsperson may be appointed soon, but we are worried about the government delivering on its promise of real investigatory powers. 

    We need everyone’s voice to help convince the Government of Canada to stand strong and to keep its promise to respect international human rights!

    It all comes down to the #Power2Investigate. Companies alleged to have committed human rights abuses are unlikely to voluntarily participate in a robust investigation needed to hold them accountable. Canada must immediately appoint an effective ombudspersonwith the #Power2Investigate.
     
    Join us online for a daily twitter storm!  

    January 23, 2019
    On January 23, an important legal case against Nevsun Resources will be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.

    In 2014, three Eritrean men filed a claim against Nevsun seeking accountability for disturbing human rights abuses -including allegations of torture and forced labour - during the construction of the company’s gold and copper mine in Bisha, Eritrea. According to documents filed in the BC court, the company had prior knowledge of the country’s National Service Program and understood the likelihood that its business relationships would involve the use of conscripted labour. The United Nations has said that the widespread use of forced labour in the country may constitute a crime against humanity.

    The plaintiffs are asking Canadian courts to hold Nevsun accountable for benefitting from violations of their human rights. Bringing these crimes to justice is vital because impunity only fuels the belief that those responsible for corporate crimes are untouchable.

    January 09, 2019

    January 17th marks the one year anniversary of the Canadian government's announcement to create an independent Ombudsperson that would enable people harmed by Canadian companies overseas to have access to justice in Canada.

    We celebrated the announcement, thrilled that Canada would finally be "Open for Justice". Yet one whole year has passed, and the Ombudsperson is still not in place! Equally concerning is whether or not the office will be granted the powers it needs to be effective. The  Canadian government did promise a year ago that Canada's Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise would be independent, transparent, and have the power and tools necessary to conduct effective investigations. But we are still waiting to see whether they follow through on their word.

    We need your help! 

    January 09, 2019

    DROP PROJECT DRAGONFLY

    Google publicly exited the search engine market in China in 2010, citing restrictions to freedom of expression online. Since then, the Chinese government has strengthened its controls over the internet and intensified its crackdown on freedom of expression. 

    Indicating a reversal in strategy, Google is now preparing to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, and is developing a new, search engine app codenamed “Dragonfly” that would facilitate China’s online censorship and surveillance. This would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights, and a dark day for internet freedom as it would legitimize China’s model of internet repression for other governments and set a precedent for tech companies compromising human rights in exchange for access to new markets.

    It has been reported in the media that Google is now planning to drop its Dragonfly project. While this is amazing news, it isn't confirmed yet, so we intend to keep the pressure on until it it official.

    December 11, 2018

    Yesterday was International Human Rights Day - and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this date, over 200 organizations from 56 countries sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau asking, “Where is Canada’s Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise?”

    December 11, 2018

    The Human Rights and Climate Change working group, together with other coalitions working on gender, just transition, Indigenous peoples, and youth, have been working hard at the international climate change negotiations in Poland to make sure that human rights and other principles referred to in the preamble of the Paris climate agreement are also explicitly referenced in the Paris rule book that will guide countries in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

    Unfortunately the outcome is not looking good, as references to human rights have now been reduced compared to the initial negotiated text. 

    November 30, 2018

    Thanks you so much to those of you who sent letters and postcards to the President of Microsoft Canada urging the company to investigate whether child labour and other human rights abuses are found in their cobalt supply chain. 

    Thanks to you and our supporters around the world Microsoft is beginning to bow to pressure. 

    The company released a report in October 2018 setting out the steps they’ve taken to map their cobalt supply chain. While this is progress, Microsoft has a long way to go to meet our concerns and international standards.

    The company has yet to tell us exactly how they’re identifying, preventing and addressing potential human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.

    We’re halting our action for the moment, but we won’t let Microsoft rest until they follow up on their commitments, and there is real evidence of change on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    November 28, 2018

    This weekend, CBC-TV will broadcast a special documentary about courageous Guatemalan villagers who are taking a Canadian mining company to court. 
    Watch the 3 minute trailer
     
    Airs: Friday, November 30 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app, and https://watch.cbc.ca/. Repeating on News Network Sunday, December 2nd at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and Thursday, December 6th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

    November 27, 2018

    Want a job at Google?
    (To apply you’ll need good coding skills… and absolutely no morals).


    watch video

    In 2010, the largest search engine in the world made a promise not to support China’s censorship of the internet. But it was recently revealed that Google is preparing to break its promise.

    Google has been working on a secretive program to re-launch its search engine in China code-named Google Dragonfly - even if it means cooperating with the Chinese government’s repressive online censorship and surveillance.

    November 27, 2018

    Amnesty launches global day of action against secretive “Project Dragonfly”

    Google’s plans to launch a censored search app in China could irreparably damage internet users’ trust in the tech company, Amnesty International said today, warning that going ahead with the app would set a dangerous precedent for tech companies enabling rights abuses by governments.

    The organization has launched a global petition calling on Google CEO Sundar Pichai to drop the app, which is codenamed Project Dragonfly and would blacklist search terms like “human rights” and “Tiananmen Crackdown”. Following a public outcry from Google’s own workforce, Amnesty International is reaching out to the company’s staff through protests outside Google offices and targeted messages on LinkedIn calling on them to sign the petition. A spoof promotional video offering Google staff the chance to participate in Project Dragonfly ends with a twist on Google’s motto: “Don’t be evil – unless it’s profitable”. 

    November 07, 2018

    In January 2018, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, the first of its kind in the world.

    We are deeply concerned however that, 10 months after the announcement, the ombudsperson is still not in place. Communities around the world who are looking to Canada for a credible process to protect their rights continue to wait. 

    There is an urgent need to turn promises into action. 

    It is time for all of us to call on the Government of Canada to urgently implement its commitments by naming an independent ombudsperson with the mandate and tools to conduct independent investigations.

    We need your help! Please phone, hand-deliver a letter, or meet in person with your Member of Parliament (MP). Next week (November 12 – 16) is an ideal time to do so, because MPs will be in their home ridings.

    We strongly encourage you to contact your MP about this important issue. It is particularly important to do so if you live in one of the following key ridings:

    August 20, 2018
    Have you always wondered what Amnesty's Business and Human Rights work is all about?

    Or, have you wondered why, for example, Amnesty campaigned for almost a decade for an Ombudsperson for Responsible Canadian Enterprise? In fact, what exactly is the Ombudsperson's job and how does it relate to Amnesty's human rights work? 

    And really, what is supply chain management and what does it have to do with child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that cell phone in your pocket? 

    Is the Mount Polley mine disaster in BC something all mining-affected communities in Canada should be concerned about? 

    If you are new to Amnesty International Canada's Business and Human Rights campaign, or want to brush up on key issues related to corporate accountability and human rights in Canada, we've created a new, downloadable information kit for you. The fact sheets in the Corporate Accountability Information Kit can be used to: 

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