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29 Nov 2022

Human Rights and Business Award Foundation

Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization named 2022 recipient of Human Rights and Business Award

Today, during the annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, our foundation is naming Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization (OWRPO), based in Azerbaijan, as recipient of the 2022 Human Rights and Business Award.

... OWRPO’s work includes raising awareness among workers about their rights, exposing labor rights violations and calling for redress, calling attention to dangerous working conditions, seeking justice for workers killed or injured, spotlighting pollution by oil companies and its impact on health, providing legal assistance to workers whose rights have been violated (in 2021, assistance to 65 people in 54 separate claims), calling for law reform, seeking public monitoring over large-scale oil projects, including projects financed by international financial institutions [and] anti-corruption activities.

... Concerns raised by OWRPO over recent years include:

  • “Trade unions play almost no role in the protection of employees’ rights.” There is a lack of independent trade unions in the country.
  • Fear of losing their job prevents employees from using grievance mechanisms.
  • “One of the main causes of discrimination in the extractive industry is nepotism, which is especially observed in recruitment, payment of wages and termination of employment contracts.”
  • “Discrimination against local workers is also observed in some foreign companies involved in oil projects.”
  • The official number of deaths and injuries at work that is reported is less than the actual number; in many cases accidents are concealed.
  • SOCAR workers are forced to join the ruling party (New Azerbaijan Party).
  • “The persecution of employees according to their political viewpoints is also often seen.”

... Following is a list of all the organizations nominated for the 2022 Human Rights and Business Award by members of the foundation’s Advisory Network.  Each of these is doing important work deserving international recognition.

The award alternates annually by region – this year former Soviet Union countries, next year Latin America & Caribbean.