USA: Corporate speakers at Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference acknowledge need for greater consideration for human rights

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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
31 October 2011

Debating human rights in the IT industry [USA]

Author: Jillian C. York, Al Jazeera

Despite concerns of "rightswashing" by some activists in attendance, a great number of corporate speakers acknowledged the need for greater consideration of human rights. Among them was Bob Boorstin, director of Public Policy for Google, who admitted: "while some companies are doing their best to protect human rights, most are not," noting that "Google does not have a spotless record"...While some companies, like Google, have enshrined within their corporate values human rights principles, others will only be incentivised by economic arguments, such as those companies providing surveillance and censorship technologies...The conference ended...with the release of a set of standards targeted at the Information and Communications Technology industry...While standards can be a force for good, particularly when coupled with a multi-stakeholder approach, they’re not always enough. [refers to Amazon, Facebook, PayPal (part of eBay), Yonja Media Group, BlueCoat , Cisco, Amesys (part of Bull), AT&T, HP, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Evoca]

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Company response
22 February 2011

Vodafone Group Plc – Response on Issues Relating to Mobile Network Operations in Egypt

Author: Vodafone

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Article
26 August 2003

company website: Citigroup

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