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Businesses across the Middle East must put human rights above the bottom line (press release)

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Author: Xavier de la Porte, in Le Monde Blogs (France)

En 2007…Amesys, filiale de Bull…signe un contrat avec le gouvernement du colonel Kadhafi [et]…vend à la Libye…un programme du nom de Eagle…Quand en 2011, est révélée cette opération,…Amesys oppose plusieurs arguments…ce que nous vendons avec Eagle c’est une technologie de lutte contre le terrorisme, si l’acheteur décide d’en faire autre chose, ça n’est pas notre problème…[L]a police secrète libyenne s’est manifestement servie de Eagle pour surveiller les opposants…[C]ertaines personnes surveillées avaient été convoquées et torturées…En mai 2010…la Fédération internationale des Droits de l’homme…dépose plainte contre Amesys pour complicité de torture. Un autre biais donc. Une information judiciaire a été ouverte…[La] Coalition contre l’exportation illégale de technologie de surveillance…[a pour] but est de pousser à une réglementation internationale sur la vente de ces technologies, réglementation reposant sur l’assurance que ce matériel ne servirait à rien qui puisse contrevenir aux droits de l’homme…

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Author: Xavier Berne, Next INpact (France)

[D]eux associations soutenaient que [Qosmos] avait « été, à plusieurs reprises…mise en cause pour avoir contribué à fournir au régime syrien le matériel de surveillance électronique nécessaire à la répression de la contestation qui a lieu en Syrie depuis mars 2011 »…[L]a FIDH et la LDH viennent d’annoncer que le Parquet avait finalement décidé d’ouvrir une information judiciaire pour « complicité d’actes de torture » en Syrie…Ces magistrats auront donc la charge de mener une enquête approfondie...ce qui permettra de mieux évaluer quelles ont été les responsabilités de Qosmos, ou décharger l'entreprise de toute mise en cause…Au travers d’un communiqué publié samedi dernier, la société a réagi à l’ouverture de cette information judiciaire en affirmant qu’elle « continuera à collaborer pleinement avec les autorités judiciaires françaises…»…« Nous tenons à démentir fermement…les accusations fausses et calomnieuses…[N]ous réaffirmons qu’aucun de nos équipements ou logiciels n’a été opérationnel en Syrie. »…[Fait aussi référence à Amesys (filiale de Bull)]

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Article
4 April 2014

Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Countries in Transition

Author: Nadia Bernaz (Middlesex University), Rights as Usual

[A]t the 9 Bedford Row International Conference on “Human Rights in Post-Revolution States”... [m]y talk was on “Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Violations in Countries in Transition”. The area of corporate accountability and transitional justice is relatively under explored...I...present[ed] a selection of cases...to highlight the type of issues that are likely to arise when trying to hold corporations, or business people, accountable for human rights violations in countries that have transitioned from conflict to peace, or from authoritarian rule to democracy...Post World War II trials against industrialists and bankers in US zone of occupation in Germany; The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings on business...; The Apartheid cases before US federal courts...; The Van Anraat case in the Netherlands; The ongoing Amesys and Qosmos cases in France...[W]here to draw the line between making profit by doing business with a criminal regime, and being criminally or civilly liable?..[U]nfortunately these cases provide no definite answers.

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Article
4 April 2014

Launch of the CAUSE coalition & Expert meeting on ICT companies – exploring ways to enhance regulation and strengthen accountability – University Foundation, 11 rue d'Egmont, Brussels– April 4, 2014 | 14:30-17:30

Author: FIDH

...On April 4th 2014, FIDH is convening a open-dialogue session in Brussels (Room A, University Foundation, 11 rue d'Egmont). This meeting will bring together known experts, NGOs and stakeholders working on ICT companies regulation and accountability issues as well as representatives of the EU, with a view to trigger a debate on the necessity to regulate the activities of communication surveillance companies. This meeting will also mark the official launch of the CAUSE coalition (Coalition Against the Unlawful Surveillance Exports). CAUSE is an international initiative led by key international and national civil society groups which main goal is to ensure that transfers of commercial surveillance technology do not contribute to human rights abuses or internal repression...[refers to Amesys]

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Article
17 March 2014

FIDH Briefing Paper on business & human rights "Enhancing Standards and Ensuring Redress" (Mar 2014) - with company responses & non-responses

Author: Compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ahava, Groupe Forrest Intl, Vale to respond. Groupe Forrest & Vale responses provided. Ahava did not respond] 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.

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Article
11 December 2013

[PDF] Annex: Company responses and non-responses regarding human rights allegations in the Middle East & North Africa region, and regarding the actions of Middle East companies overseas

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

To date the Resource Centre has made 147 approaches to companies operating in the Middle East and North Africa – this includes companies headquartered outside the region, and those headquartered within it including for concerns about their activities overseas). The overall response rate is 67% (98 responded). From companies headquartered in the Middle East and North Africa the response rate is 58%% (26 out of 45 approaches). For companies headquartered outside the Middle East and North Africa regarding allegations of abuses within the region, the response rate is 71% (72 out of 102 approaches). The two charts below provide details of all these approaches. Sector breakdown: The business sectors contacted most often for a response to a human rights concern (nine times or more), from highest to lowest,
were technology and internet firms (31 approaches for a response to a human rights concern); media & public relations (16); clothing & textile (16); extractives (13); transport (11); construction (10); private security (9). [details of each approach follow]

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Article
10 December 2013

[PDF] Business and Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa – A regional briefing

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

This briefing provides insights into many cases of alleged abuse, and company responses to them, alongside descriptions of positive steps that some firms are taking. It provides practical examples of the ways forward for companies and governments in the region. [all firms mentioned in the briefing: Abdulla Nass; Accenture; Adidas; Africa Israel; Ahava; Al Asfoor; Al Hamad; Alcatel-Lucent; Alstom; Amesys; Anglo American; Aramex; AT&T; BAE Systems; Bank Audi; BLC Bank; Blue Coat; CACI; Carrefour; Century Miracle Apparel; Chemical Industries Development; Citi; Computerlinks FZCO; Co-operative Group; Daoud & Partners; Emirates; Etihad; Etisalat; Evoca; Facebook; FSI Worldwide; G4S; Glowork; Google; GP Zachariades; Helwan Fertilizers; KBR; Lebanese Family Club; LINKdotNet; Manpower; Marks & Spencer; Mazaya Investment Group; Mekorot; Microsoft; Millicom; Mondelez; MTV Lebanon; Noor Group; OHM; Ooredoo; Orange; Orascom; PepsiCo; Procera Networks; Qatalum; Qatar Airways; Rosoboronexport; Saudi Aramco; Saudi Star Development; SEKEM; Senior Group; Sjovik; Spinneys; Suez Steel (part of Solb Misr); Telecom Egypt; TeliaSonera; Tesco; Veolia; Villaggio; Vodafone; Websense; Yahoo!; Zain]

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Article
10 December 2013

[PDF] Businesses across the Middle East must put human rights above the bottom line - New report lifts the lid on the business practices of dozens of companies operating across the Middle East

Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[Arabic and French versions below] Companies operating across the Middle East must uphold human rights according to a new report by an international human rights organisation. The new report, released today in Arabic, English and French by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre to mark Human Rights Day, looks at how Middle Eastern companies and international firms operating in the region across a range of sectors are meeting – and failing to meet – their responsibility to respect the human rights of workers and communities...

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Author: Centre de Ressources sur les Entreprises et les Droits de l'Homme

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Author: Centre de Ressources sur les Entreprises et les Droits de l'Homme

Les entreprises opérant au Moyen-Orient doivent mieux respecter les droits de l’homme selon un nouveau rapport publié par une organisation internationale de défense des droits de l’homme...

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