July-August 2016 Newsletter What's Happening with the Corporate Capture Project? At the ESCR-Net Peoples’ Forum on Human Rights and Business, during
July-August 2016 Newsletter
What's Happening with the Corporate Capture Project?
At the ESCR-Net Peoples’ Forum on Human Rights and Business, during October 2015, in Nairobi, Members of ESCR-Net’s Corporate Accountability Working Group (CAWG) strongly reiterated the need for Members to collectively increase efforts across CAWG to address the means by which an economic elite undermines the realization of human rights and the environment by exerting undue influence over domestic and international decision-makers and public institutions, a phenomenon known as 'corporate 'capture'.
Members are beginning to participate in research by completing the new Corporate Capture Survey, developed by the Corporate Capture Project Advisory Group, which includes Above Ground (Canada), Citizen News Service (India), Defend Job (Philippines), Habi Center for Environmental Rights (Egypt), PODER (Mexico) and Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food. The Project Advisory Group, with the leadership of Citizen News Service, has also developed a tool for aggregating online media regarding cases of corporate capture and the CSO strategies used to address the various characteristics of this root cause of corporate-related human rights abuses.
Initial research, beginning in 2015, has also supported various events—including the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights and the Global Media Forum—and emerging advocacy. In May 2016, ESCR-Net led the Treaty Alliance in adopting a statement urging the forthcoming UN Treaty to address corporate human rights abuses to remain free of corporate influence, and include provisions that would address corporate capture at the national level.
How Can You Get Involved in the Corporate Capture Project?
The government of Uzbekistan has partnered with Indonesian-based Indorama Kokand Textile LLC in a joint venture to export cotton that stems from forced labor, land grabs, and the coercion of local farmers. The income of the sales from the cotton under Indorama are then funneled into a secret account known as the “Selkhozfond” (Agricultural Fund), to which only the highest level government officials and Indorama have access. Civil society organizations including the Cotton Campaign and Human Rights Watch are actively aiding the victims of abuse most recently by submitting a complaint against the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for funding the Uzbekistan government in this process.
Jean Charest Met with Private Panel to Review a TransCanada Corp. Pipeline Project in Quebec
Photo Credit: The Canadian Press.
TransCanada confirmed that it is paying Charest who has worked in some capacity from 2003 to 2012 as the Quebec Premier, further evidencing the connection between major political parties in Canada and the oil and gas industry. The meeting has led the New Democratic Party in Canada to call for further lobbying investigations of TransCanada pipeline's CEO, Russ Girling. Read more here.
Myanmar Town Attempts to Stop Operations by Military-Owned Acid Factory by Revoking License to Operate
A local village in Myanmar refused to renew the license of a military-owned sulfuric acid company, Union of Myanmar Economic Holding Limited, however, the factory resumed operations after appealing to the Directorate of Industrial Supervision and Inspection. Amnesty International has since published a report on this issue. Read more here.