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New Measures to Address Abuses in Chinese Region Insufficient

The United Kingdom and Canada made coordinated announcements this week to help prevent British and Canadian businesses from being complicit in, or profiting from, human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region. The move follows growing calls…
People work amidst massive piles of cotton in China's Xinjiang province. 
News
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
News

Pandemic Compounds People’s Struggle for Affordable Food

(New York) – Government inaction in response to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically exacerbated Turkmenistan’s pre-existing food crisis, Human Rights Watch and the Turkmenistan Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) said today.…
A woman sells herbs in Ashgabat.
News

Important Coastal Barrier at Risk from Increased Pollution

Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful to strike in the Bay of Bengal in 20 years, made landfall on the India-Bangladesh coast last month. Amphan ripped off roofs, washed away homes, and flooded farms. Crucially, Bangladesh was able to mitigate impact and…
Men working in a coal mine in Bangladesh
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Amid protests against racism and police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington likened police investigations of arrested protesters and their associates to contact tracing for COVID-19. This reckless analogy…
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Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan Should Allow Free Flow of Information

(Geneva) – The World Health Organization (WHO) should press four governments that have shut down the internet to minority populations during the Covid-19 crisis to restore internet access, Human Rights Watch and 47 other organizations…
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Companies Canceling Orders, Adding to Job Loss, Unpaid Wages

(London) – Apparel brands’ business practices in response to COVID-19 are exacerbating the economic plight of millions of garment workers in Asia, Human Rights Watch said today. Scores of clothing brands and retailers have canceled orders without…
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News

Blocking Access Could Cost Lives

UPDATE: Ethiopia announced that it would restore phone and internet service to western Oromia after a three-month shutdown. (New York) – Intentionally shutting down or restricting access to the internet violates multiple…
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On World Water Day, Marginalized Populations Still Lack Access to Basic Hygiene Measures

  Today is World Water Day, but as the world braces for the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little to celebrate. The need for good hygiene like handwashing is key to protecting public health and responding to the virus.…
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  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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Framing a Canadian Discussion on Human Rights in the Global Operations and Supply Chains of Canadian Companies

Canadian businesses, civil society, labour and government are looking for the best path forward to prevent and eliminate adverse human rights impacts in the global operations and supply chains of companies based in Canada and / or doing business in Canada…
News

Time and Cost-Cutting Pressures Are Incentives for Labor Abuses

(London) – Clothing and footwear brands should end business practices that provide incentives for factory labor abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 66-page report, “‘Paying for a Bus Ticket and Expecting to…
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  Summary Soon after the Rana Plaza collapsed in 2013 in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing over a thousand workers, a top official from a global brand flew into Pakistan.[1] His sudden trip was sparked by the desperation to make up…
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A crash in slow motion—it’s the only way one can describe the looming economic fallout should Bangladesh refuse to extend the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. In just one week’s time the Bangladesh government may force this landmark agreement to stop…
Bangladesh police stand guard in front of garment factories in Ashulia on December 26, 2016, when factories re-opened after a five-day shut down in response to garment workers’ wage strikes.
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Suits Increasingly Used to Hamper Environmental Activism

Today, a US federal court heard arguments in a lawsuit against Greenpeace that raises serious concerns about freedom of expression. In May 2016, Resolute Forest Products, a Canada-based logging company, filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit…
A workers unloads a truckload of logs in Howe Sound near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada April 25, 2017.
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This spring marks a solemn milestone. More than five years have passed since a series of deadly fire and building accidents in Pakistan and Bangladesh together killed more than 1,500 workers and injured thousands more. In the aftermath of these…
Women work in the sewing division of a factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
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How Unions Help Workers Worldwide

How can a mango craving spiral into a labor dispute? I was talking with garment workers in Cambodia when I heard the mango story. A pregnant garment worker had been caught sneaking mangoes into the factory despite a rule forbidding food…
Garment workers take part in a May Day demonstration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 1, 2017.
News
Every year on April 24, I browse through a poignant online memorial for garment workers who died in 2013 in the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. The website is a collection of national IDs, passport-size and other photos—a man posing…