Business & Human Rights

Annual Briefing on Corporate Legal Accountability on Human Rights

27 November 2013

The second Annual Briefing of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre provides an overview of corporate legal accountability for human rights, summarising trends and developments in this field since their first Annual Briefing in June 2012. This briefing draws attention to the latest developments in lawsuits against companies for alleged human rights abuses around the world and looks ahead to emerging issues. The full briefing is available for download here.

Business & Human Rights Centre launches regional briefing on Eastern Europe and Central Asia

10 June 2013

In April 2013, the Resource Centre launched its first regional briefing for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The briefing provides an overview of key business and human rights developments and trends in the region over the past four years, including descriptions of cases from Armenia and Bulgaria.

US Supreme Court dismisses ATS case against Shell

17 April 2013

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Kiobel v Shell case affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of the case and restricted the application of the Alien Tort Statute in cases involving allegations of abuse outside the United States.

The Kiobel lawsuit alleged that Shell was complicit in the torture, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses of Ogoni people in the Niger Delta. The Court’s opinion held that there was a presumption against the extraterritorial application of US law and that the plaintiffs had not overcome this presumption for purposes of the ATS. The decision significantly narrows the range of human rights cases that can be brought under the ATS in US courts based on alleged abuses outside the USA. However, the exact scope of this decision will become clearer as US courts apply this new ruling to pending ATS cases such as the lawsuits against Exxon Mobil and Rio Tinto regarding alleged human rights breaches in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea respectively.

European Commission reports and guidance on business and human rights

January 2013

The European Commission is currently developing human rights guidance for three business sectors: employment and recruitment, ICT/telecommunications, and oil and gas. The guidance is expected to be completed by the end of April this year. So far, the EC has published reports on human rights and the environment (2010), Study on Responsible Supply Chain Management (2011), guidance on human rights for SMEs (new), and CSR policies (2011).

New brief from Professor Ruggie on Kiobel and Corporate Social Responsibility

4 September 2012

A new “Issues Brief” has just been published by the former UN Special Representative on business & human rights, Professor John Ruggie. The document, available for download here, addresses Shell’s arguments in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Shell), the currently pending US Supreme Court case challenging the extraterritorial application of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), under which companies have been sued over alleged human rights abuses abroad. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on 1 October. In this brief, Professor Ruggie asks whether a company’s corporate responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights should be consistent with its litigation strategy, and whether such a strategy should “aim to destroy an entire juridical edifice for redressing gross violations of human rights, particularly where other legal grounds exist to protect the company’s interests”.

New briefing highlights human rights lawsuits against companies over alleged abuses in over 25 countries

London, 20 June 2012

The non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has launched its first annual briefing on Corporate Legal Accountability. This briefing draws attention to the latest developments in lawsuits brought by victims against companies in Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, France, Nigeria, South Africa, UK, USA and other countries. Please click here to download the 13-page briefing.

New campaign to hold Samsung accountable for occupational cancer

2 March 2010

An international coalition held a press conference at Samsung Headquarters in Seoul, Korea to announce the formation of a campaign to demand that Samsung accept responsibility for the many deaths of its young workers from occupational cancer. The Coalition – called the “Samsung Accountability Campaign” – includes Supporters for the Health and Rights of People in the Semiconductor industry (SHARPs), Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU), Asian Network for the Rights Of Occupational Accident Victims (ANROAV) and International Campaign for Responsible Technology (ICRT). The Coalition also announced an international petition campaign calling on Samsung to accept responsibility for the health of its workers, especially now that it has become a leading global brand that is promoting itself as a “green company” around the world. Click here for further details.

Apartheid Reparations lawsuits (regarding South Africa)

New York, 11 January 2010

On January 11, 2010 a US Federal Appeals Court heard the defendant companies’ appeal of the lower court’s decision allowing the case to proceed to trial. The defendants are Daimler, Ford, General Motors, IBM and Rheinmetall Group. Please click here for the full article.

Apartheid case against companies to resume in the US Court of Appeals

8 January 2010

The Khulumani support group are optimistic ahead of the trial. Click here to read the full article.