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

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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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Author: مركز موارد الأعمال التجارية وحقوق الإنسان

تحتاج منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا إلى تقدم إعمال حقوق الإنسان في مجال الأعمال التجارية بشكل سريع، وذلك انطلاقًا من دور شركات المقاولات ووكالات التوظيف التي تأتي بالعمال المهاجرين للعمل في مشاريع البناء الضخمة – بما في ذلك تلك المتعلقة ببطولة كأس العالم التي ستستضيفها قطر – مروراً بدور شركات الإنترنت في تسهيل أو عرقلة حرية التعبير وتكوين الجمعيات للمواطنين، والحاجة إلى وضع حد للتمييز ضد المرأة في مكان العمل وصولًا الى دور الشركات الأمنية والحماية الخاصة في المناطق التي تشهد نزاعات. تسلّط هذه القضايا الضوء على الفرص المتاحة أمام شركات الأعمال لدعم حقوق الإنسان كما على العواقب الوخيمة التي تقع على الأشخاص عندما لا تقوم هذه المؤسسات بذلك. يقدّم هذا الموجز مشاهد عن حالات الإساءة المزعومة واستجابة الشركات لها، بالإضافة الى عرض الخطوات الإيجابية التي بدأت بعض المؤسسات باتخاذها. كما يقوم الموجز بتقديم أمثلة عملية عن المسار للمضي قدما في هذا المجال بالنسبة للشركات والحكومات في المنطقة.

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Author: مركز موارد الأعمال التجاريو وحقوق الإنسان

يوفر هذا الموجز لمحة عامة عن الأعمال التجارية وحقوق الإنسان في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا ويقدم توصيات عملية للمضي قدما. كما يسلط الضوء على بواعث القلق بشأن سلوك الشركات ويولي الأهمية ذاتها لتقديم أمثلة عن الخطوات الإيجابية التي تتخذها الشركات والحكومات. ويشير الموجز أيضا الى كيفية استجابة الشركات لإدعاءات بإنتهاكات معينة في مجال حقوق الإنسان. منذ العام 2005 ويدعو "مركز موارد الأعمال التجارية وحقوق الإنسان" الشركات للإجابة على ادعاءات سوء السلوك، بما في ذلك في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا. فقد خاطبنا 45 مرة مع شركات يقع مقرها في الشرق الأوسط وشمال افريقيا في ما يتعلق باستجابتها لمزاعم تورِّطها في حالات انتهاك لحقوق الإنسان وجاء معدل الاستجابة بنسبة 58 ٪. كما خاطبنا مئة مرة ومر (102) مع شركات (دولية – متعددة الجنسية) يقع مقرها خارج هذه المنطقة بشأن مزاعم ذات صلة بانتهاك حقوق الإنسان داخل المنطقة، وجاء معدل الاستجابة بنسبة 71 ٪.

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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
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
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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