Brazil: UN Working Group on business & human rights reports on Dec 2015 visit - its concerns include deaths of human rights defenders

Brazil UNWG visit dec2016_credit_Elza Fiuza_Agencia Brasil_http://imagens2.ebc.com.br/Qh9Rt0Q_McpuKWOIMI5SOGqIA68=/fit-in/1280x720/filters:watermark(http://imagens.ebc.com.br/abr_watermark.png,1,1,96)/http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/sites/_agenciabrasil2013/files/fotos/990598-16122015capa-dsc_1601-.jpg

The United Nations Working Group on business and human rights visited Brazil from 7-16 December 2015. The final report of the group was presented to the UN Human Rights Council on June 16. Several complaints of human rigts violations were made, as well as criticism and recommendations to the Brazilian government and companies. See below for more information, including analysis of Conectas Human Rights on the presentation of the report by the UNWG and the Brazilian government's response.

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Article
23 June 2016

Brazil: Conectas comments on UNWG report presentation to the Human Rights Council & criticizes govt. response denying accusations of human rights violations

Author: Conectas Direitos Humanos (Brazil)

“UN denounces violations committed by companies in Brazil-Report presented in Geneva highlights cases of Belo Monte and Mariana”, 21 June 2016

...UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights denounced in Geneva...[on]...June 16...cases of human rights violations related to the energy sector, the extractive industry, agribusiness and civil construction in Brazil. In a report presented to the Human Rights Council, the Working Group made a total of 28 recommendations to the Brazilian government and to...companies...The group criticized proposed legislation pending in Congress that relaxes the requirements and simplifies the approval process for infrastructure projects…[T]he influence of corporations on the formulation of these laws and regulations is alarming…[T]he report mentions the lack of consultation with the populations impacted by the construction of the Belo Monte hydropower plant…and the lack of participation by the victims of the burst dam in Mariana…in the drafting of the settlement agreement between companies and the State for the recovery of the area affected by the disaster. The Brazilian ambassador in Geneva, Maria Regina Dunlop, refuted the criticisms of the Working Group, denying the lack of participation by the affected communities and stating that “human rights are part of the rules and obligations for the licensing of large projects”…The arguments…were contested by Conectas and the Chilean NGO Corporación Humanas during the meeting in the Human Rights Council…

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Article
23 June 2016

Brazil: UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights presents in Geneva complaints, criticisms & recommendations to govt. and companies

Author: United Nations Working Group on business and human rights

“Brazil must move forward on business and human rights – UN expert group”, 17 June 2016

...Brazil must move forward on business and human rights, and avoid the risk of sliding backwards, the Working Group on Business and Human Rights said today as it presented to the Human Rights Council the report* on its December 2015 official visit to the country.“Brazil has a solid legal system and institutions to protect against business-related human rights abuse, and we urge the country to build on advances and better protect human rights in practice,” said...Dante Pesce, who...heads the UN expert group. “The participation of Brazil’s vibrant civil society and courageous human rights defenders is also essential,” he stressed. “...[W]e are extremely concerned about the huge risks facing some activists who raise their voices against business-related human rights abuse, and saddened by the high number of deaths of human rights defenders.” During its visit, the Working Group heard testimonies from communities who had been adversely affected by business operations, including the Belo Monte hydropower plant, construction projects related to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the Fundão tailings dam rupture in Mariana, Minas Gerais...

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Article
23 June 2016

Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises on its mission to Brazil

Author: United Nations Working Group on business and human rights

“Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises on its mission to Brazil”, 12 May 2016

...Pavel Sulyandziga and Dante Pesce…visited Brazil…at the invitation of the Government...to assess…efforts made to prevent and address adverse human rights impacts of business-related activities…[S]ome companies have specific policies and guidance on human rights in line with the Guiding Principles, it…was not the case for a majority of business…[R]aising awareness of the Guiding Principles and investing in capacity-building efforts should be priority…areas...[H]uman rights risks were mainly seen as risks to a company’s operations, rather than risks faced by vulnerable rights holders. Companies should not just be assessing human rights risk by analysing the risk to the company of the success or failure of projects…[;]…a holistic consideration of human rights risk may be sidelined to the detriment of affected communities…[There is a n]eed to…strengthen the support provided to rights holders to enable them to be in a balanced position vis-à-vis companies and public officials…[A]ffected communities…conveyed a sense of vulnerability, isolation and rejection by the decision makers and those with power…[It’s important that]…Government and businesses listen…to…the most marginalized. Deeply considering the opinions and experiences of those affected…is essential to ensuring that human rights are not jeopardized in the pursuit of economic growth…

[It refers to BNDES, Carrefour, Complexo Industrial Portuário de Suape, Consórcio Norte Energia, Petrobras, Samarco (joint venture BHP Billiton and Vale), Syngenta and Vale]

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