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Corporate Accountability

    March 29, 2018

    This is part 3 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    Throughout the years, Amnesty International has continued to put pressure on Shell Oil for the company's role in the Niger Delta. Amnesty's 2009 report "Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta" focused on some of the root causes of the complex conflict situation in the Niger Delta, including:

    the impact of half a century of pollution and environmental damage on the people of the delta; the lack of effective accountability and redress for harm to the environment and human rights; and a lack of transparency and information in relation to the impacts of the oil industry.

    These factors are key drivers of conflict and poverty in the Niger Delta.

    Listen to our Niger Delta "True Tragedy" podcast

    March 27, 2018
    Photo of vigil for Ken Saro Wiwa (2005)

    This is part 2 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    In 2005, ten years after executions that horrified the world, the exploitation of oil in the Niger Delta continued to result in deprivation, injustice and violence. Despite a return to civilian government in 1999, those responsible for human rights violations under military governments were not brought to justice. Security forces were still allowed to kill people and raze communities with impunity. The environmental harm to health and livelihoods that impelled the Ogoni campaign for economic and social rights remained the reality for many inhabitants of the Delta region.

    March 14, 2018

    This is part 1 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    On November 10, 1995, Amnesty International released this statement: “AI has learned with dismay that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni supporters were executed on 10 November 1995.”

    The world was shocked. The trial was widely criticized by human rights organizations and the governments of other states The Commonwealth of Nations, which had pleaded for clemency, suspended Nigeria's membership. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions—but not on petroleum.

    What was the role of Shell oil in this? And how has the situation evolved since then? This six-part blog series explores the human rights impact of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, the mounting evidence against Shell, the courageous activism of affected communities,  and the on-going fight for justice.

    January 18, 2018

     

    By Ian Heide, Business and Human Rights Coordinator

    Amnesty International is calling on the Governments of Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to launch investigations into the role of Shell Oil regarding the horrific crimes committed in Ogoniland by the Nigerian military during the 1990s. In 1995, nine men from Ogoniland were executed. The executions of the Ogoni Nine, after an unfair trial, were the culmination of a much broader crackdown on the Ogoni people by the Nigerian military government. Amnesty`s latest report focuses on widespread human rights violations including unlawful killings, torture, rape and the destruction of homes and property, carried out by the military in the years leading up to the executions in 1995.

    Amnesty International has reviewed thousands of pages of internal company documents and witness statements in order to reach this conclusion. The evidence shows that Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when they knew it would lead to massive human rights violations.

    January 17, 2018

    OTTAWA – The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) is greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade’s announcement of the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. The human rights ombudsperson will investigate complaints concerning the overseas operations of Canadian companies and will issue public findings on allegations of harm. The office will make recommendations for redress; regarding corporate eligibility for government services; and with respect to policy and law reform.

    “Over the years, cases of real concern have mounted, involving worrying allegations that Canadian mining and other companies have been responsible for serious human rights abuses in countries around the world,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “At long last there will be a body and process in place to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights in their overseas operations.”

    January 15, 2018

    You probably already know that Canadian mining companies explore the world looking for gold, silver and other precious metals. But did you know that Canadian companies also regularly export big servings of human rights abuses alongside their mining projects?

    November 30, 2017

    We have some news! An important announcement may be imminent.

    The Canadian government may announce a human rights ombudsperson as soon as next week.

    A human rights ombudsperson is essential to ensure that people who have been harmed by Canadian mining, oil and gas companies overseas can have their cases heard in Canada.

    Amnesty International has been calling for the creation of a human rights ombudsperson for years. Thanks to you and over 100,000 other concerned Canadians who signed petitions and postcards, we are closer now than ever before.

    We have nearly convinced the government that Canada needs an ombudsperson. The final sticking point relates to the ombudsperson's investigatory powers.

    An ombudsperson needs to be able to review all the information related to a case in order to issue findings and recommendations. Unfortunately however, industry is pressuring the Canadian government to create a weak ombudsperson without effective investigatory powers. This will severely impair the ombudsperson’s ability to review evidence and make findings and recommendations.

    November 23, 2017
    Responding to reports that the London Metal Exchange has launched an investigation into whether cobalt mined by children is being traded in London, following an Amnesty International report linking several major brands to human rights abuses in the DRC, Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:   “Transparency is absolutely crucial for eradicating the scourge of child labour from cobalt battery supply chains and we welcome the London Metal Exchange’s pledge to shine a light into the dark corners of the cobalt trade.  
    November 22, 2017

    BC’s Court of Appeal today gave the green light to hearing an important corporate accountability lawsuit against Nevsun Resources. The Court of Appeal ruling allows the 3 Eritrean men who filed the lawsuit against the company for modern slavery, torture, forced labour and crimes against humanity to have their day in court. Nevsun’s Bisha mine was constructed using state-contracted companies and the Eritrean military, which used forced labour under what the plaintiffs describe as abhorrent conditions. The men described hunger, illness and harsh punishment as some of the conditions they endured while building the mine.

    Eritrea is known as one of the most repressive regimes in the world, with no working constitution, rule of law or independent judiciary. The lawsuit alleges that by entering into an agreement with the Eritrean regime, Nevsun expressly or implicitly supported the government’s widely-known – and greatly feared - conscription policy and therefore became an accomplice to forced labour, crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses at the Bisha mine.

    October 11, 2017

    “Our economy walks on the land and swims in the waters”

    In a one-room, circular building, modelled on a traditional Secwepemc winter pit house, water defender Jacinda Mack stands before the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and describes the effects of colonialism on her people, the Secwepemc of British Columbia. The consequences of more than 150 years of government assault on Indigenous identity and self-determination are personally exhausting, she says. However, her love of her people and the waters of her territory motivate her to keep fighting for justice.

    July 21, 2017

    On August 4th 2014, the tailings dam burst at Imperial Metals' Mount Polley Mine in central British Columbia, releasing a catastrophic 24 million cubic metres of mine waste into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, and Quesnel Lake - headwaters and spawning grounds of the Fraser River watershed.

    As of July 1st 2017, no charges or fines have been issued, despite most of the waste still lying at the bottom of fish-bearing lakes. The Mount Polley Mine has returned to full-scale operations and is now permanently discharging more wastewater into Quesnel Lake, and relying on the lake to dilute the waste in order to meet BC water quality limits. 

    Mount Polley Mine pollution is a major concern for several reasons:

    May 03, 2017

    By Fiona Koza

    Nevsun Resources has joined the ranks of Vancouver-based mining companies on trial for human rights abuses allegedly committed at overseas mines. Nevsun is accused of complicity in torture and slavery at its Bisha mine, a joint-venture with the government of Eritrea. Nevsun shareholders deserve to know about these extremely serious allegations, which is why several organizations including Amnesty International held a rally outside Nevsun Resource’s Annual General Meeting in Vancouver this morning.

    The lawsuit against Nevsun claims that the plaintiffs in the case were subject to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” while forced to work at the company’s Bisha mine, facing “long hours, malnutrition and forced confinement for little pay.” They allege they “worked under the constant threat of physical punishment, torture and imprisonment” and that Nevsun, by entering into a commercial relationship with the government of Eritrea, “became an accomplice to the use of forced labour, crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses.”

    April 13, 2017

    On May 9th, a provincial election will be held in British Columbia. Amnesty International  is urging all candidates to make clear public commitments to closing crucial gaps in oversight, accountability, and service delivery that jeopardize the safety, health and well-being of many British Columbians and undermine human rights protection in the province.

    We need your help! We're asking all our supporters in British Columbia to help us ensure that human rights are part of this election.

    Here's how: 

    1. Learn more 

    Amnesty International has issued an open letter to all candidates in this election outlining our concerns, including:

    April 04, 2017

    Some of the world’s largest companies are selling food and cosmetics containing palm oil that is tainted by shocking human rights abuses, including forced and child labour. Corporate giants, such as Nestlé , Kellogg’s, Colgate, Unilever and Procter & Gamble are turning a blind eye to the exploitation of workers in their palm oil supply chain. These companies reassure their customers that they are using “sustainable” palm oil, yet Amnesty’s research reveals that the palm oil is anything but.

    These companies buy palm oil from plantations run by Wilmar in Indonesia. Amnesty has discovered severe labour abuses at Wilmar’s plantations, including unsafe working conditions, discrimination against women, unrealistic targets and penalties, and children doing hazardous work.

    Write a lettter:

    Contact the makers of Dove soap, KitKat chocolate bars, Knorr soup, Pantene shampoo, Gerber baby cereal, Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dish soap and Magnum and Parlour ice cream and demand that they take responsibility for human rights abuses in their palm oil supply chain.

    March 08, 2017
    The Mount Polley mine disaster of 2014 opened a Pandora’s box, revealing weak mining laws, poor oversight and enforcement, poor corporate practices, underfunded financial sureties for mine clean up, poor dam design, and eye-brow raising corporate donations.

    The chaos of BC’s mining regulatory system was laid bare.  

    Today, the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre released a new report commissioned by the Fair Mining Collaborative. Together, the two groups also issued a formal request to Premier Christy Clark and the Lieutenant Governor in Council asking the government to establish a Judicial Commission of Public Inquiry into improving BC's mining regulations. 

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