• 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.
  • A gold mine near Nakibat and Nakiloro, Rupa, Moroto.
    Uganda’s nascent mining industry could do more harm than good for indigenous people unless the government makes reforms and mining companies start respecting rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Uganda’s government has promoted private investment in mining in the remote northeastern Karamoja region to bring economic development, but should implement reforms to respect the rights of indigenous people to determine how their lands are used.

Featured Content

  • 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

Extractive Industries

  • Jul 2, 2014
  • Jul 2, 2014
    President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea should immediately release an unjustly imprisoned Italian citizen and ensure he gets prompt medical treatment. Roberto Berardi, a former business partner of President Obiang’s eldest son, has been in custody since January 2013 in an apparent effort to prevent him from disclosing information about the son. Berardi has become seriously ill yet has been denied medical treatment.
  • Jun 25, 2014
    Global leaders visiting Equatorial Guinea for an African Union summit should call on the government of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to improve its human rights record and urgently address corruption.
  • Jun 12, 2014
    Many multinational companies now ban children from working in their operations, but child labor is still a central issue for them. In the globalized economy, products have long and complex supply chains, often reaching down to a multitude of small, local producers. Companies may source from businesses that use child labor without knowing – unless they take steps to ask the question.
  • Jun 10, 2014
    I am writing regarding the Council’s engagement on business and human rights issues. We are aware of highly divergent views among delegations over whether and how to launch government negotiations leading to a legally binding instrument addressing business-related abuses. Although some states seek to initiate a negotiating process imminently, at the moment there is insufficient clarity on the scope of the proposed instrument or evidence it would have sufficient support to have the desired impact.
  • May 20, 2014
    Health ministers should pledge to take comprehensive action to prevent and treat the negative health effects of mercury, a toxic chemical. The World Health Assembly is scheduled to discuss a resolution on the new international treaty on mercury, the Minamata Convention, on May 21, 2014.
  • Mar 20, 2014
    France’s indictment of the eldest son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea on money-laundering charges sends a strong message in the global fight against kleptocracy. French courts issued the indictment against Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorín, who is a top official in his father’s government and considered a possible successor to his father, on March 18, 2014, RFI reported.
  • Mar 14, 2014
    A major global initiative to encourage governments to better manage natural resource revenues should reject Ethiopia’s bid for membership due to its harsh restrictions on civil society, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Mar 4, 2014
  • Feb 3, 2014
    Meri, an indigenous woman in northeastern Uganda, was shocked when strangers, accompanied by soldiers, showed up unannounced on her land in late 2012 and started to take rock samples without explanation. One of her neighbours described company representatives drilling and extracting samples inside her home. These stories are not isolated. Mining companies, in co-ordination with the government, are starting to explore for minerals in the Karamoja region without first getting the permission of traditional landowners. And the government has condoned these practices.