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Referendum on Mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Safeguards in Supply Chains

On November 29, Swiss citizens will decide whether Swiss companies should be required to introduce human rights and environmental safeguards to their global business practices. Voting in favor of the proposal brought by the Responsible Business…
gold trading shop in Santa Milagrose
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Groups Call for Law on Human Rights Protection in Companies’ Sourcing Practices

Knowing where products are made is key to stopping human rights abuses in the global supply chain.  An alliance of 64 NGOs and trade unions in Germany – including Human Rights Watch – has launched a Supply Chains Law Campaign urging the…
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Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposal Risks Serious Harm

A proposed new rule by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could mean that coal ash pollution – a byproduct of burning coal for electricity – won’t be properly cleaned up and that even if it is, the public will foot…
Coal ash swirls on the surface of the Dan River in Danville, Virginia
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Inadequate Laws and Oversight Fuel Labor Abuses

Protesting poor working conditions and demanding higher wages, about 150 workers at a manganese mine in Chiatura, Georgia, went on strike May 15. On Friday, 15 of the workers reportedly began a hunger strike. Manganese is an element…
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Landmark Rulings Protect Women and Communities Affected by Mining Companies

South Africa’s highest court has delivered two landmark decisions protecting women’s rights to equality and land ownership, as well as the rights of communities living in mining areas. The latest ruling ensured that an older…
Xolobeni community members and environmental activists march and chant slogans in front of South Africa's Pretoria High Court, April 24, 2018.
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Hundreds of Cases of ‘Disappearances’ and Torture Reported Under al-Sisi’s Government

Instead of protecting its citizens from torture and forced disappearances, the Egyptian government prefers to criticize and attack groups calling for investigations. Human Rights Watch published evidence several weeks ago…
Khaled Hassan
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Questions You Should Ask Your Jeweler

Sunday is Mother’s Day in many countries, an opportunity for many to give their mum a piece of jewelry. Jewelers are offering “Mother’s Day Gift Guides” and “Mother’s Day Specials.” Here is Human Rights Watch’s special “gift guide” for Mother’s Day…
"Peter," 15, working alongside a teenage girl at an artisanal and small-scale mine in Odahu, Amansie West district, Ghana.
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Monitoring of Companies’ Sourcing Practices Should Be Prioritized

This week, a gathering of governments, companies and civil society groups at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris will assess companies’ efforts to curb serious abuses in their minerals supply chains…
A girl works in an artisanal diamond mine in Sosso Nakombo, Central African Republic, near the border with Cameroon, in August 2015.
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Missed Opportunity to Affect Much Needed Reforms

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on Wednesday approved a US$500 million loan for a crucial piece of a network of pipelines owned largely by the Azerbaijani government that will transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe. The bank made…
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Maladministration in Nigerian’s July 2016 Execution

The official Ombudsman of Indonesia has accused both the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Supreme Court of “maladministration” in denying a Nigerian citizen, executed for drug trafficking in July 2016, his legal rights. …
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Baku Responds by Quitting the Transparency Group

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international coalition promoting better governance of resource-rich countries, has suspended Azerbaijan for failing to ease its crackdown on civil society groups. Following years of…
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Transparency Group Should Urge Civil Society Reforms

In one month, the board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international multi-stakeholder group, will decide whether to suspend the natural resource-rich government of Azerbaijan for failing to comply with EITI standards.…
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US Should Address Issues in North Dakota, Flint, and Beyond

Since August, over 400 people have been arrested protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline – 140 in the last week alone. This after the tribe sued the federal government in July, stating that they were not properly consulted about the construction project.…
Dakota Access Pipeline protesters square off against police near the Standing Rock Reservation and the pipeline route outside the little town of Saint Anthony, North Dakota, U.S., October 5, 2016.
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This week, Japan took a historic step in tackling the global threat of mercury: it joined the Minamata Convention on Mercury. The treaty is named after the Japanese fishing town of Minamata, where one of the world’s worst mercury poisoning disasters…
Minamata memorial
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When Aung San Suu Kyi met recently with her long-time nemesis, retired general Than Shwe, after her party’s stunning election victory in November 2015, it was heralded as a harbinger of a smooth democratic transition in Burma. But hundreds of miles north…
Rescue workers look for bodies of miners killed by a landslide in Hpakant jade mine, at Kachin state, Myanmar November 24, 2015.
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The British government’s concern for the safety and well-being of the Yemeni people – already extremely feeble – reached a new low this week. In Geneva, Britain failed to actively promote a Dutch resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council that…
Damaged buildings in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, May 8, 2015.
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Lately it’s hard to avoid having “unprecedented” and Azerbaijan in the same sentence because of the government’s ever-harsher crackdown on critics. But today’s Azerbaijan news is unprecedented for another reason. Finally one of its international partners…