Once again this year, the government of Uzbekistan forcibly mobilized its citizens to the cotton fields to prepare carry out the 2015 harvest of the country’s “white gold.” Worse still, according to the Cotton Campaign and other observers, the forced labor practices of Uzbekistan are now being employed by the government in neighboring Turkmenistan as well.
Author: Michael Kourabas
The story of DuPont’s ongoing pollution in West Virginia is expertly detailed in the most recent New York Times Magazine. The account underscores just how crucial is today’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) “movement” and suggests that we cannot continue to rely on government and private lawyers to police corporate behavior.
Coming shortly before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this video serves as a useful reminder of how consumers can take a hard look at what — if any — progress their favorite brands have made toward ensuring respect for human rights.
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Last week in Geneva, a United Nations working group held its first week-long session to debate the parameters of a potential binding treaty concerning corporate human rights abuses.
Even in a more open and democratic Burma, the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority, continue to suffer. And there isn’t a single actor — governmental, corporate or otherwise — willing to take responsibility.
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In light of the World Bank’s recent decision not to investigate connections between the Bank’s development projects and the forced labor in Uzbekistan, positive steps by apparel and home goods companies are vital.
Last week, a group of Colombian plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to revive their lawsuit against banana giant Chiquita. This case presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify its 2013 decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell and give much needed guidance to plaintiffs and businesses regarding when a corporation may be liable under U.S. law for human rights abuses committed abroad.
Canadian multinationals beware: Your home and native land may now be the forum of choice for plaintiffs seeking to bring international human rights lawsuits.
Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Young v. UPS, a case that could change the way pregnant women are treated by their employers. The case will force conservative justices to choose between two core right-wing constituencies: anti-choice activists and pro-business groups.
In addition to offending all notions of civil liberties, the Uzbek forced labor system is just plain bizarre. For example, one’s work boss is also one’s boss in the cotton fields and, incredibly, cotton-picking skills may “become a component of annual job evaluations, skewing decisions on promotions.”