• Whether it is an oil company that relies on abusive private security forces, a tech company that censors or spies on users at the behest of a repressive government, or a corrupt government that siphons off the wealth of its nation, businesses and other economic activities can have negative impacts on people’s rights. Human Rights Watch investigates these and other situations to expose the problems, hold institutions accountable, and develop standards to prevent these activities. This work has included research and advocacy on human rights problems caused by corruption in resource-rich countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Nigeria, and Burma.
  • Gubad Ibadoglu, activist for revenue transparency in Azerbaijan and member of the governing board of EITI, has been targeted in a government crackdown on independent groups.
    The Azerbaijan government’s offensive against human rights defenders and nongovernmental organizations should lead to its suspension from an international transparency initiative.
  • Without Rules: A Failed Approach to Corporate Accountability

    By Christopher Albin-Lackey, senior researcher

    Some of the most powerful and sophisticated actors on the world stage are companies, not governments. In 2011 alone, oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil generated revenues of US$467 billion—the size of Norway’s entire economy. Walmart, the world’s third-largest employer with more than 2 million workers, has a workforce that trails only the militaries of the United States and China in size.

    Many global businesses are run with consideration for the well-being of the people whose lives they touch. But others—whether through incompetence or by design—seriously harm the communities around them, their workers, and even the governments under which they work.

    Read the full essay >>

Reports

Business

  • Sep 24, 2014
    BP should tackle a harsh government crackdown on independent groups and activists in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Watch said in a letter released today. The crackdown has seriously compromised an international natural resource transparency initiative in which the company plays a leading role. On September 20, 2014, BP and the government of Azerbaijan, a member of the same group, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), held a high-profile ceremony to mark the official start of a major new project to supply gas from Azerbaijan to Europe.
  • Sep 23, 2014
    The World Bank should not proceed with a US$90 million loan for strengthening the health care sector in Uganda without enforceable steps to end discrimination in care for marginalized groups, 16 Ugandan and international organizations said today in a letter to World Bank President Jim Kim. Health care for women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people should be included in non-discrimination measures, the groups said.
  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Sep 17, 2014
    IBM and Ai Weiwei, L’Oreal and Liu Xiaobo, Daimler and the Dalai Lama. In many senses these aren’t likely pairings, but suddenly it seems major international corporations and critics of the Chinese government have more in common than previously thought.
  • Sep 12, 2014
  • Sep 11, 2014
    This week’s discussion of the report on surveillance by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Human Rights Council is a critical moment in the global understanding of the human rights challenges raised by unlawful and arbitrary surveillance. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will present a report on the right to privacy in the digital age (A/HRC/27/37).
  • Aug 14, 2014
    The Azerbaijan government’s offensive against human rights defenders and nongovernmental organizations should lead to its suspension from an international transparency initiative.
  • Aug 11, 2014
    We write to you today to express deep concern with recent actions by a fellow member of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA), Natural Fruit Co. Ltd., and Natural Fruit’s CEO and TPIA President, Wirat Piyapornpaiboon.
  • Aug 8, 2014
    The US-Africa Summit wrapped up yesterday, but that wasn't the end of the fanfare for one of its most controversial participants. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, the world’s longest serving non-royal head of state, was honored at an invitation-only dinner last night hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa.
  • Jul 30, 2014
    The emerging Brics economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – struck an agreement this month to establish a development bank with an initial capital of $100bn. The Brics want the bank to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects. From the outset, it should adopt open and transparent processes, and environmental and social rules, that are the best in the business. It should help communities become involved in the development of projects, invest in schemes that communities actually want, and ensure that its investments benefit the most marginalised people.