FIDH Briefing Paper on business & human rights "Enhancing Standards and Ensuring Redress" (2014)

In March 2014, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) issued a briefing paper titled "Business and Human Rights: Enhancing Standards and Ensuring Redress".  In the briefing paper FIDH calls on the international community to take urgent steps at national, regional and international levels to ensure effective redress mechanisms are available for corporate-related human rights abuses.

Press release: Business and Human Rights: FIDH Calls on the International Community to Enhance Standards and Ensure Redress, 17 March 2014

Español: Empresas y Derechos Humanos: La FIDH pide a la comunidad internacional reforzar las normas y garantizar reparación, 17 marzo 2014

français: Entreprises et Droits Humains : la FIDH appelle la communauté internationale à renforcer les normes et garantir des mesures de réparation, 17 mars 2014

Full report, in English only: [PDF] Business and Human Rights: Enhancing Standards and Ensuring Redress, March 2014

The briefing paper is based on five case studies, relating to Cambodia, Brazil, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Palestine. 

Case studies, company responses & non-responses

Cambodia: The paper claims that while the garment sector is involved in human rights abuses and textile workers were repressed when striking to demand a living wage, Cambodian factories continue to ignore workers’ rights and global brands profit from cheap labour.
Statements by Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) in response to allegations in the FIDH paper are available in this article: "New Report Says Garment Sector Fails to Meet UN Standards", Cambodia Daily, 14 Mar 2014  

Brazil: FIDH alleges that mining company Vale has failed to exercise due diligence and continues to fail to address environmental and health impact caused by its business partners’ and its own activities.  It also claims that the communities of California and Piquiá de Baixo are still waiting to receive "adequate reparation and compensation".
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Vale to respond to the allegations in the FIDH paper as well as to this article in Portuguese: "Piquiá de Baixo: mais uma conquista rumo ao reassentamento", Justiça nos Trilhos, 9 de março de 2014.
Vale response in English 
Resposta de Vale em português    

Libya: The Gaddafi goverment allegedly used communication surveillance equipment supplied by the French company Amesys to spy on, and subsequently arrest, detain, and torture its opponents.  The case highlights barriers in accessing justice following a criminal complaint filed by FIDH and LDH for alleged complicity in gross human rights violations.
See our profile of the Amesys lawsuit.  

Democratic Republic of Congo: The briefing paper alleges that 500 villagers whose homes were destroyed by the mining company CMSK are still waiting to receive compensation.  Until 2012, Groupe Forrest International, headquartered in Belgium, had shares in CMSK through its subsidiary EGMF.  The company denies any responsibility in the demolitions. 
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Groupe Forrest International to respond to the allegations.
Réponse de Groupe Forrest International, annexe 1, annexe 2 (en français)  

Palestine: FIDH alleges that by directly profiting from the appropriation and exploitation of land and Dead Sea natural resources, the cosmetics company Ahava can be considered a perpetrator of the war crime of pillage.  The paper further argues that Israel has failed to prevent and prosecute the on-going pillaging, and has facilitated it by licensing Ahava and granting financial benefits to the settlers who own nearly half of the company’s shares.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ahava to respond to the allegations.
Ahava did not respond.   

Conclusions 

FIDH concludes that the effects of corporate activities on the human rights of individuals and communities in the five locations indicates shortcomings in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and in their implementations, notably: "their voluntary nature and...divergent interpretations by stakeholders; the lack of robust guidance on legislative and policy measures states should take; and most importantly obstacles in accessing justice and obtaining reparations".

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