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Non-judicial grievance mechanisms: 19 reports highlight case studies, analyse redress mechanisms, provide recommendations to co.s & govts.

Package of materials on non-judicial grievance mechanisms by Non-Judicial Human Rights Redress Mechanisms Project including:

10 in depth case studies

...examining harms caused by mining, agribusiness and textile clothing and footwear production in India and Indonesia, and the attempts of communities and workers to pursue some form of remedy through complaints mechanisms, legal cases, long term organizing and shorter term campaigns. This includes case studies of POSCO's Odisha ProjectIndia's Tea Sectorthe Siawan Belida REDD+ ProjectWilmar and Palm Oil GrievancesTribal Claims against the Vedanta Bauxite Mine and RefineryComplaints related to the PT Weda Nickel MineRajasthan Stone QuarriesLeather footwear workers in Tamil NaduForced labour in the Textile and Garment sector in India, and the Global Footwear and Apparel Supply Chains in Indonesia.

5 reports analyzing specific non-judicial redress mechanisms

...including the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) of the International Finance Corporation and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and the National Contact Point initiative of the OECD as well as three multi-stakeholder initiatives that provide avenues for redress: the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and the Freedom of Association Protocol, an Indonesian based multi-stakeholder initiative with links to major sportswear brands.

2 reports with specific recommendations for Australia and the United Kingdom

...as countries that domicile multinationals and financiers involved in the ten cases studied or have significant supply chain connections with those cases.

2 cross-cutting reports

Beyond the UN's Effectiveness Criteria: 1 report that summarises the lessons for our broader understanding of non-judicial redress mechanisms, and reflects on the UN Guiding Principles Effectiveness Criteria for Non-Judicial Redress Mechanisms.

Civil society guide: 1 guide with lessons and questions for communities, workers, civil society, trade unions and other allies thinking about taking a complaint through a non-judicial redress mechanism

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Article
2 December 2016

The Freedom of Association Protocol: A localised non-judicial grievance mechanism for workers’ rights in global supply chains

Author: Tim Connor, University of Newcastle, Annie Delaney, RMIT University & Sarah Rennie, Melbourne University

November 2016

The Freedom of Association Protocol…is a multi-party agreement… It was developed in the context of a…global campaign to persuade sportswear brands to uphold workers’ rights in their supply chains. Although institutionally fragile, the Protocol is highly unusual among the non-judicial mechanisms we studied in that it has resulted in significant improvements in respect for trade union rights in a number of factories that we investigated… Worker representatives have also been active decision-makers and participants in the design, dissemination, implementation and governance of the Protocol.  This has contributed to relatively high levels of local stakeholder ownership of the Protocol…While a number of brands and suppliers have exhibited significant commitment to the Protocol process, its implementation has been far from uniform…Without sustained monitoring, particularly from international labour rights networks…the incentives for some brands to stay involved and to persuade their suppliers to continuously improve compliance may diminish…

[Also refers to Nike, Adidas, Puma, Pentland and New Balance.]

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Article
1 December 2016

Barriers to grievance: leather footwear homeworkers in Tamil Nadu, South India

Author: Annie Delaney, RMIT University

November 2016

This case study focuses on predominantly women homeworkers engaged in the footwear supply chain in…India. UK companies found to be sourcing in this area at the time of research include Marks and Spencer, Asda/Walmart, Base London, Next, Pentland and Clarks…Homebased workers in this industry face low wages, insecure and precarious work, and lack of freedom of association. There are numerous governance gaps identified…Leather footwear homeworkers face multiple barriers to organising themselves and asserting their rights...The case follows the responses of transnational business to the social movement campaigns on child labour in the Indian footwear sector; a homework program in North India by the ETI; and a recent campaign on leather footwear homework in Tamil Nadu…An overall finding from this report is that a lack of recognition and dialogue with unions and civil society by corporations around accountable and transparent grievance processes perpetuates barriers to grievance for workers in the footwear supply chain…

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Article
1 December 2016

Case Study of the CAO’s Approach to the PT Weda Nickel Mine Complaint: Barriers to Mediation in a Climate of Fear

Author: Shelley Marshall, Monash University, Kate Taylor & Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

November 2016

This case studies the human rights impact of the PT Weda Bay Nickel mining company on indigenous and seaside communities…and their attempts to stop the mine or gain fair compensation for loss of their land.  It demonstrates the immense barriers to accessing meaningful redress…The project was embroiled in significant controversy over the disruption of the livelihoods of the affected villages, and the Tobelo Dalam, an indigenous tribe…The initial exploration and feasibility phase of the project was marred by the encroachment of the rights of these people — including improper land acquisition and compensation procedures, corruption, intimidation sponsored by state and company, and also raised issues regarding cultural, environmental and health rights…The CAO complaint had no tangible effect on human rights outcomes for affected communities. The Ombudsman function was unable to establish a problem-solving process because communities were too fearful for their safety to be identified…

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Article
1 December 2016

Human Rights Grievance-Handling Systems in the Indian Tea Sector

Author: Kate Macdonald, University of Melbourne & Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

November 2016

This case study focuses on the working and living conditions of tea plantation workers in India. A range of transnational companies are linked through supply chains to Indian tea plantations…Tea plantation workers face a number of issues concerning low wages, insecurity of employment, health and safety concerns, and poor quality of social infrastructure and services available to workers on plantations…[O]ne of the questions examined in this case is why so few grievances have been brought through transnational non-judicial grievance mechanisms…The case study also examines the operation of formal transnational complaint handling mechanisms…Where transnational grievance mechanisms have been used, their relatively weak leverage has meant that they have had little impact on facilitating individual remedy. However, where involvement of transnational non-judicial grievance mechanisms has provided…indirect support to organising grassroots workers, the case suggests that engagement with these mechanisms can sometimes have a small, positive effect on…improvements to working…conditions…

[Also refers to Unilever.]

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Article
1 December 2016

Posco's Odisha Project: OECD National Contact Point Complaints and a Decade of Resistance

Author: Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

November 2016

This case study focuses on a protracted conflict between Korean steel giant POSCO, and communities affected by a proposed steel plant in the eastern Indian state of Odisha…[T]he project has faced strong opposition from the communities affected by the proposed steel plant…The conflict and specific complaints addressed in this report pertain to failures to respect rights to free, prior and informed consent over land acquisition, inadequate consultation with affected communities…displacement, and multiple incidents of violence and intimidation by police and other actors…This report focuses on a complaint made to…National Contact Points (NCP) in South Korea, the Netherlands and Norway…The Dutch process facilitated discussion between ABP/APG, the complainants’ representatives and, ultimately, POSCO, with the objective of launching a fact-finding mission, which could then form the basis of a dialogue. However, parties could not agree to the terms of the mission…The NCPs ultimately had no positive impact on human rights in this case…

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Article
1 December 2016

Rajasthan Stone Quarries: Promoting Human Rights Due Diligence and Access to Redress in Complex Supply Chains

Author: Shelley Marshall, Monash University, Kate Taylor & Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

November 2016

This case study examines attempts by stone workers in quarries in Rajasthan to gain redress for poor labour conditions, death and injury caused by silicosis and asbestosis…Human rights issues in the stone sector in India include bonded labour, child labour, and unhealthy and unsafe work environments resulting in injury and death by silicosis and asbestosis. The quarry sector is largely unregulated and most workers are undocumented and unorganised…Some redress was attained through the National Human Rights Commission of India (‘NHRC’) by interacting with the High Court of Rajasthan and the state government to provide compensation for thousands of victims of silicosis…The international multi-stakeholder initiatives attempts to address the issue…had made little or no progress in improving conditions for workers or engaging with local players over the course of our field work…However, progress may have been made since then. This case study highlights the need for intensive engagement at the local level…

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Article
1 December 2016

The Siawan Belida REDD+ Project in Indonesia: Community-Oriented Approaches to Consultation and Grievance Handling

Author: Kate Macdonald, University of Melbourne & Imam Ardhianto, University of Indonesia

November 2016

This case study focuses on…a forest conservation project developed by private sector investors in partnership with the NGO Fauna & Flora International under the international REDD+ framework…During these preparatory phases of the project…[o]ne important issue related to the implications on community livelihoods for proceeding with the REDD+ project...The only mechanisms that had actually been used by communities…were project-based consultation and informed consent processes, together with informal grievance channels associated with the project development process. International grievance mechanisms linked to project funders were available, but had not been utilised…This case offers a number of constructive lessons regarding how project-level consultation and grievance handling can support community rights. However, it also highlights the limits of what can be achieved…[T]he project was not in the end able to go ahead on the terms to which communities expressed their consent. The project became stalled for an extended period and was ultimately discontinued…

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Article
1 December 2016

Tribal claims against the Vedanta Bauxite Mine in Niyamgiri, India: What role did the UK OECD National Contact Point play in instigating free, prior and informed consent?

Author: Shelley Marshall, Monash University & Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University

November 2016

…The Vedanta Aluminium Complex…involved a proposal to establish a Bauxite mine at the top of Niyamgiri Hills…The Niyamgiri Hills constitute the only traditional home to the Dongria Kondh and the Kutia Kondh. The Dongria Kondh and Kutia Kondh aimed to claim their right to control over their lands, and to exercise free and informed consent concerning any transfer of their lands…Survival International lodged a complaint to the UK National Contact Point. At the same time, a complex set of administrative reviews and court cases were being lodged and heard in India…A determination against Vedanta by the UK…NCP…led to the disinvestment of a number of shareholders and reputational damage for Vedanta on the international stage. At home, the pursuit of legal means of redress resulted in a process of self-determination for tribal people underwritten by constitutional law…Ultimately, the mine was stopped by a Supreme Court of India judgment…

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Article
1 December 2016

Wilmar: The Promise and Pitfalls of Problem Solving

Author: Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Deakin University & Kate Macdonald, University of Melbourne

November 2016

This case study examines communities lodging complaints against Wilmar, one of the world’s biggest palm oil companies…Most of these complaints are oriented towards efforts to protect the land rights of local people…Communities pursued complaints through the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (‘CAO’) for the International Finance Corporation (‘IFC’) and Multilateral Investment Guarantees Agency (‘MIGA’), and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (‘RSPO’)…Mediations with a number of communities in Jambi were complex and protracted, and the CAO’s attempts to facilitate mediation was brought to an abrupt close when Wilmar sold the subsidiary, PT Asiatic Persada, to companies that had no relationship to the IFC, and were not members of the RSPO…[T]hese complaints have led to two separate audits of IFC lending practices in the palm oil sector conducted by the CAO’s compliance arm. The first…identified significant non-compliance by the IFC with its standards and led to a temporary moratorium on palm oil investment…The second compliance audit…also found significant failings in IFC procedure.

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