USA: President-elect Trump's appointees reviewed by Senate amid questions over records & policies on business & human rights

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10 January 2017

NGO letter to US Judiciary Committee re nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Author: 12 NGOs & investor groups incl. Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), EarthRights Intl., FIDH, Global Witness, Greenpeace USA

We...write concerning the nomination of Senator Jefferson Sessions as the United States Attorney General. We urge you to use the confirmation hearings to clarify Senator Sessions’ commitment to upholding rule of law, including by supporting and enforcing anti-corruption measures, and measures to ensure accountability for human rights harms, including those committed by corporations. The U.S. government has a longstanding commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, including through...its endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights... When corporations commit wrongdoings that have human rights impacts, they very rarely are held to account. Such corporate impunity has a pernicious effect on our society as it denies justice to victims of the crime, weakens the rule of law, and creates an uneven playing field for law-abiding businesses. The Department of Justice is tasked with “seek[ing] just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior.”This should include prosecution of human rights crimes, including when such violations of law are committed by corporations...

Senator Sessions has recognized the need for corporate accountability and the current prosecution gap. He has made comments expressing a desire for ending corporate impunity... [We] urge you to use the confirmation process to clarify Senator Sessions’ views and commitments to the following:

1) Will Senator Sessions ensure effective prosecution of corporate human rights abuses as a key priority of the Department of Justice, and ensure U.S. compliance with international obligations?...

2) Will Senator Sessions continue rigorous enforcement of the [US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act]...? ...

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10 January 2017

NGO letter to US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations re nomination of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State

Author: 16 NGOs & investor groups incl. Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), EarthRights Intl., FIDH, Global Witness, Greenpeace USA

We...write to express our strong concerns and reservations about the candidacy of Mr. Rex Tillerson as the United States Secretary of State. We urge you to use the confirmation hearings to elicit a response from Mr. Tillerson on how, if confirmed, he will uphold America’s international obligations and commitments to the rule of law, respect for human rights and workers’ rights, and protection of the environment. The U.S. government has a longstanding commitment to promoting human rights, including through...endorsing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights... In the past decade, Mr. Tillerson served as the Chief Executive Officer of Exxon Mobil, a company with a dangerous track record on human rights and the environment...

The Department of State plays an important role in promoting labor rights and enhancing economic security and working conditions for workers abroad. Will Mr. Tillerson continue to support and strengthen international labor standards and fundamental principles and rights at work? Through which steps?

Will Mr. Tillerson support and expand upon the National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct developed under the Obama Administration?

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