ODA accountability consultation; World Bank dumps human rights; Bank report on extractives ignores reality.
Ruggie guidelines stir debate
In 2008, the UN Human Rights Council extended Special Representative John Ruggie’s mandate on business and human rights. Among other things, the Council asked Mr. Ruggie to identify “concrete and practical recommendations on ways to strengthen the fulfilment of the duty of the State to protect all human rights from abuses by or involving transnational corporations.”
Victims of Kilwa Massacre Seek Justice in Canada
Congolese nationals have launched a class action law suit in a Montreal court against Canadian mining company, Anvil Mining. At least 73 civilians were killed in 2004 when the Congolese Armed Forces attacked residents in the town of Kilwa. A UN investigation revealed that planes, vehicles, personnel and food controlled by Anvil Mining were used by the army during the attack (see IU Oct. 31, 2008).
Financial Transaction Tax feasible, says report
G8-G20 summits fall flat, ignore call for sustainable future
This month “Fortress Toronto”, with its 18,000 strong security forces and four kilometer chain link fence, bore witness to a Peoples’ Summit ripe with ideas and alternatives, petitions signed by 1.75 million asking leaders to invest in the future now, a 25,000 strong peaceful protest, media stunts galore, some regrettable violence, and two deeply disappointing summits.
IMF, European Union look to bail out Greece
Greece’s debt crisis is finally coming to a head, with International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to deal with the country’s deficit and heavy debt load being hammered out in Athens. The European Union and the IMF are negotiating the terms of a bailout as fears mount that Greece’s crisis could soon spread to other countries in Europe and beyond. Other nations carrying significant debt loads, including the United States, are concerned that the Greek crisis is a harbinger of things to come, closer to home.
The corporate responsibilty to respect human rights
Detractors of Private Member’s Bill C-300 (IU February 2009) draw attention to the bill’s treatment of human rights. The bill establishes guidelines for Canadian extractive companies that operate overseas. These guidelines must be met by companies that receive support from Export Development Canada, the Canadian Pension Plan and Canadian embassies. The guidelines are to include provisions based on Canada's international human rights obligations.
Government accountability bill returns to the House
On March 3, the Governor General will open a new session of Parliament, ending the recess created when the Harper government prorogued the previous session in December. All legislation that was under consideration at that time was extinguished, with the exception of private members’ bills, which return to the House, unscathed. These bills begin anew at whichever stage of the legislative process they had reached before the plug was pulled on Parliament.
CSOs push for Common Approaches revamp
Members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are currently reviewing a 2007 Council Recommendation regarding export credit agency (ECA) operations. The Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (Common Approaches) is a “gentlemen’s agreement” that seeks to establish a level playing field regarding ECA environmental practice. CSOs argue that the Recommendation’s impact is undermined by the lack of effective accountability mechanisms to ensure consistent and effective application by member governments.
Corporate Accountability Hearings Heat Up
Things were hopping this month in Parliamentary hearings on Bill-300, An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries (see IU February 2009). The Bill was presented before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development by MP John McKay on May 25. This month Committee members heard riveting testimony from diverse witnesses (see JUST THE FACTS). Speakers included: Romina Picolotti, former Secretary of the Environment for Argentina and winner of the prestigious Sophie Prize for environment and sustainable development; Stephen Hunt, former mine worker and current Director at the United Steelworkers union; Marketa Evans, the federal government’s new Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor; and mining companies Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Kinross.