Saturday, November 01, 2008

New Portal of Human Rights Lawsuits Against Corporations

Last week, the non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launched a free online portal to document lawsuits from across the world alleging human rights abuses by companies.

Most of these cases are pending; some are finished or settled – the profiles indicate the current status of each.

Case profiles include:
  • AngloGold Ashanti: sued in South Africa over miners suffering from silicosis
  • BHP Billiton: sued in Australia and Papua New Guinea over pollution by its mine in Papua New Guinea
  • Chevron/Texaco: sued in Ecuador, alleging extensive pollution damaging environment and health
  • Dow/Union Carbide: sued in India and US following the industrial disaster in Bhopal
  • ExxonMobil: sued in US over alleged complicity in abuses by Indonesian security forces in Aceh
  • Severstal: sued in Russia for severe pollution by its steel plant; government failed to provide the court-ordered relief; local residents took Russian Government to European Court of Human Rights and won
  • Shell: sued in US over alleged complicity in killings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists in Nigeria
  • Trafigura: legal action in UK, France, Netherlands & Côte d’Ivoire regarding dumping of toxic waste in Côte d’Ivoire, allegedly leading to 17 deaths and the illness of hundreds
  • Yahoo!: sued in US for handing information to Chinese officials; led to detention & alleged torture of dissidents
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre tracks the human rights impacts (positive & negative) of 4000 companies in over 180 countries. Issues include discrimination, labour rights,
security & conflict zones, killings, torture, displacement, environmental abuses affecting human health, access to medicines, poverty and development.

Other Library Boy posts about the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre include:
  • Weekly Updates Available from Business and Human Rights Database (March 22, 2005): "Corporate profiles include news stories, items about investigations, lawsuits and enforcement actions, as well as official responses (...) The Centre has also just introduced a new feature, Weekly Updates, which are e-mail alerts with an interesting twist: companies are invited to respond to reports that criticise them, and the responses are included. This is to help keep the updates balanced and encourage companies to publicly address important labour and human rights concerns being raised by civil society organizations such as labour unions, development associations, Third World NGOs, and human rights organizations."
  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Website Relaunched (June 15, 2007): "The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a research website set up by human rights NGOs and various academic organizations, has just launched its re-designed website.The Resource Centre is an independent non-profit that encourages companies to respect human rights by bringing reports about their conduct - positive & negative - to a global audience."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:50 pm


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