Human Rights Committee tells Germany to strengthen remedies to protect victims of businesses operating abroad

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Company response
12 February 2013

Response to your enquiry regarding alleged behaviour of Kaweri Coffee Plantation, Uganda

Author: Neumann Kaffee Gruppe

In 2000, the land that the Kaweri farm is on today was chosen together with the Ugandan government for the set-up of a sustainable coffee farm. Kaweri Coffee Plantation….does not- and never has – owned the land…[it is] leased from…the Ugandan state….The previous owner had…informed the people having settled there…about the upcoming sale and subsequently made offers of compensation….Kaweir itself was [not]…involved in the compensation payment negotiations…A few individual residents…refused to move…These person were subsequently forced to leave the land; government authorities assisted the former owner in this process…Those legal proceedings happened without NG or Kaweri having known about it and before the lease contract was signed. NG very much then and now regrets how these 25 families were treated….In 2009, a complaint was filed against NG because of alleged violations for the OECD Guidelines….In 2011, the National Point of Contact of the OECD…acquitted NG from all charges…

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Article
27 November 2012

Human Rights Committee recognizes Extra-Territorial Obligations under the ICCPR

Author: Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The Human Rights Committee recently issued its Concluding Observations, or findings, related to the periodic report of Germany…the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) intervened with a Parallel Report to the Human Rights Committee regarding violations of Germany’s extra-territorial obligation to protect human rights by not regulating or holding accountable a German corporation involved in forced evictions in Uganda. The report covered the forced eviction of the villages of Kitemba, Luwunga, Kijunga and Kirymakole in the Mubende District of Uganda that were carried out in 2001 on behalf of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe to make way for a coffee plantation…Bret Thiele, Co-Executive Director of the GI-ESCR, “With these clear pronouncements, the Human Rights Committee made clear the extra-territorial scope of human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which now lays the foundation for future advocacy before the Committee, including opening up avenues of accountability and remedies under the Individual Complaint procedure.”

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Article
31 October 2012

[PDF] Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Germany, adopted by the Committee at its 106th session, 15 October to 2 November

Author: Human Rights Committee

While welcoming measures taken by the State party to provide remedies against German companies acting abroad allegedly in contravention of relevant human rights standards, the Committee is concerned that such remedies may not be sufficient in all cases...The State party is encouraged to set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in its territory and/or its jurisdiction respect human rights standards in accordance with the Covenant throughout their operations. It is also encouraged to take appropriate measures to strengthen the remedies provided to protect people who have been victims of activities of such business enterprises operating abroad.

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Article
30 March 2011

[PDF] Final declaration by the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises regarding a complaint by Wake up and Fight for Your Rights Madudu Group and FIAN Deutschland against Neumann Gruppe GmbH

Author: Germany National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

In the context of the investigation by the National Contact Point, there were no indications that Neumann Gruppe could not believe in good faith that it had acquired the land for use as the Kaweri Coffee Plantation from the Ugandan investment authority free of encumbrances and claims of third parties. In the view of the German National Contact Point, the parties should work together to further strengthen the relationship of trust between the Kaweri Coffee Plantation / Neumann Gruppe and those affected. To this end, the German National Contact Point sees an urgent need for the complainants to refrain from public attacks against Neumann Gruppe and to actively take up the offer of in-court and out-of-court negotiations towards an amicable settlement.

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