Business and Human Rights
In January 2018, the government of Canada committed to creating a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by Canadian extractives and garment sector enterprises. Today, it announced an Ombudsperson has been hired, however, without the necessary investigatory powers to do the job. In today's announcement, the government promised that those powers would be incorporated into the role after further study.
After15 months of delays, and after years of courageous testimony from human rights defenders about the terrible abuses they suffered in the context of Canadian mines, actions speak louder than words. We are deeply disappointed by today's announcement and vow to carry on Amnesty's campaign for a fully independent Ombudsperson with investigatory powers.
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?”
In January 2018, the Canadian Minister for International Trade announced the creation of an Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. Now people who have been harmed by the overseas activities of Canadian mining, oil, gas and garment companies will be able to submit their complaints to an independent ombudsperson for investigation. The ombudsperson will make its findings public and provide recommendations for redress.
The creation of ombudsperson will help ensure that Canada is finally “Open for Justice”.
Some elements of the ombudsperson have yet to be defined however. Amnesty will continue to work with the Canadian government to ensure that the ombudsperson office will be credible and effective. In order to be credible and effective, we believe it is vital that the ombudsperson be free from political and corporate interference, and be empowered to conduct effective investigations, including the ability to gather evidence that may be in a company’s possession.
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.
By Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights Researcher
The Scottish government recently announced plans to, by 2032, phase out petrol and diesel vehicles. By 2040, the only cars on United Kingdom roads will also be electric, and petrol stations will be replaced by car charging points. Meanwhile, in the United States, Elon Muskhas announced the launch of the Tesla Model 3, which he hopes will become the world’s first mass-market electric car.
The international community must ban the import of all goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements and put an end to the multimillion dollar profits that have fuelled mass human rights violations against Palestinians, said Amnesty International today.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, the organization is launching a new campaign calling on states across the world to prohibit settlement goods from their markets and to prevent their companies from operating in settlements or trading in settlement goods.
“For decades, the world has stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit. While the Palestinian economy has been stunted by 50 years of abusive policies, a thriving multimillion dollar settlement enterprise has been built out of the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Migrant workers on Qatar 2022 World Cup construction sites continue to suffer abuse and exploitation, Amnesty International said today as the country’s flagship football venue hosts the first match since its redevelopment.
Companies involved in the renovation of Khalifa International Stadium subjected their workers to systematic labour abuse which Amnesty International exposed last year. The stadium will be inaugurated on Friday evening – one month
after independent auditors published fresh details of ongoing exploitation of migrant workers across World Cup projects.
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.
Released 00:00 GMT on 30 September 2016
The Honourable Stéphane Dion The Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs
125 Sussex Drive 125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G2 K1A 0G2
May 20, 2016
Dear Minister Dion and Parliamentary Secretary Alghabra,
Released 00:01 GMT 03 November 2015
Claims by oil giant Shell that it has cleaned up heavily polluted areas of the Niger Delta are blatantly false, Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) said in a new report published today.
Clean it up: Shell's false claims about oil spills in the Niger Delta documents ongoing contamination at four oil spill sites that Shell said it had cleaned up years ago. The report is being published to mark the 20th anniversary of the execution, on 10 November 1995, of the environmental activist and writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned tirelessly against the damage caused by the oil industry in the Niger Delta.
“By inadequately cleaning up the pollution from its pipelines and wells, Shell is leaving thousands of women, men and children exposed to contaminated land, water and air, in some cases for years or even decades,” said Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights researcher at Amnesty International.
*/ /*-->*/Canada blinks: Ombudsperson announcement a disappointment, but the fight is not over
Human rights abuses at Canadian-owned mining and oil and gas sites around the world are widespread and well documented. Victims often have nowhere to turn to seek justice. The Canadian Government has taken steps to address this problem. But at a crucial moment, it seems Canada has blinked.