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Business, civic freedoms and human rights defenders: Which developments and ideas did we put in the spotlight?

We continuously highlight important developments, research, actions and ideas at the intersection of business, civic freedoms and the work of human rights defenders:

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Article
11 October 2017

Brands urged to defend rights of Cambodia garment workers

Author: Beth Wright, Just-Style

A trio of labour and human rights groups are calling on multinational apparel companies sourcing from Cambodia to take a stand against what they say is "repression" in the country and urge the Cambodian government to respect human and labour rights.

Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, and International Labor Rights Forum say they are deeply concerned about the closing of democratic and civil society space in Cambodia. The groups claim the trend has recently escalated with what they call "alarming high-profile incidents of repression against political leaders, non-governmental organizations, and independent media."...

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Article
7 November 2017

Dam Violence. The plan that killed Berta Cáceres

Author: Roxanna Altholz, Jorge E. Molano Rodríguez, Dan Saxon, Miguel Ángel Urbina Martínez & Liliana María Uribe Tirado, Grupo Asesor Internacional de Personas Expertas

Nov. 2017

On March 2, 2016, armed men murdered human rights defender Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, and shot Mexican environmental activist Gustavo Castro Soto in the town of La Esperanza, Department of Intibucá, Honduras…Based on its analysis of the evidence, GAIPE has concluded that Berta Isabel Cáceres’ murder is not an isolated incident. This report demonstrates that shareholders, executives, managers, and employees of Desarrollos Energéticos Sociedad Anónima (DESA), private security companies working for DESA; and public officials and State security agencies implemented different strategies to violate the right to prior, free and informed consultations of the Lenca indigenous people…The information reviewed by GAIPE also demonstrates that DESA lacked sufficient capital to build the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric Project. The company appears to have used funds originating from the financial system to increase the levels of violence in the zone…Based on its analysis, GAIPE has established the willful negligence by financial institutions such as the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the Netherlands Development Finance Institution (FMO) and the Finnfund…

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Article
28 November 2017

Nigeria: Amnesty publishes evidence of alleged complicity of Shell in silencing protesters & urges UK, Nigeria & Netherlands to consider criminal investigation; Shell denies allegations

Author: Hannah Summers, The Guardian (UK)

"Amnesty seeks criminal inquiry into Shell over alleged complicity in murder and torture in Nigeria", 28 Nov 2017

Amnesty International is calling for a criminal investigation into...Shell regarding allegations it was complicit in human rights abuses carried out by the Nigerian military. A review of thousands of internal company documents and witness statements published on Tuesday points to the Anglo-Dutch organisation’s alleged involvement in the brutal campaign to silence protesters in...Ogoniland region in the 1990s. Amnesty is urging the UK, Nigeria and the Netherlands to consider a criminal case against Shell in light of evidence it claims amounts to “complicity in murder, rape and torture” – allegations Shell strongly denies. [Documents include] witness statements...that allege Shell managed a unit of undercover police officers, trained by the Nigerian state security service, to carry out surveillance in Ogoniland after the oil company...announced...withdrawal... Shell stopped operations in Ogoniland in early 1993...but...subsequently sought ways to re-enter...and end the protests...[by] the group... under the leadership of ... Ken Saro-Wiwa... In 1993 its mounting campaign was successful in forcing the oil company to quit the region. But mass protests ensued after Shell pushed ahead with plans to lay a new pipeline... On 30 April...troops guarding Shell’s contractors opened fire on protesters injuring 11 people...In the brutal backlash that followed by Nigeria’s military police, about 1,000 people were killed and 30,000 made homeless... Amnesty said: “The evidence shows Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to – unlawful killings, rape, torture and the burning of villages...we now believe there are grounds for a criminal investigation...

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