Investor-State Dispute Settlement Becomes Key Measure of Whether NAFTA Renegotiations Will Benefit Working People or Expand Corporate Power
Growing public opposition to the expansive corporate privileges at the heart of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took center stage as the fourth round of NAFTA talks began today in Washington, D.C. U.S., Mexican and Canadian civil society organizations delivered more than 400,000 petitions demanding that NAFTA’s expansive corporate rights and protections and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) be eliminated during renegotiations.
Thai use of criminal defamation draws outcry in advance of state visit
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House yesterday, the same week 14 migrant workers in Thailand will be indicted on charges of criminal defamation and giving false information to public officials. The charges stem from a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) in which the workers alleged egregious abuses by their employer, Thammakaset Company Limited, on a poultry farm that exported chicken overseas. The workers are scheduled to be indicted October 4, 2017, in Don Muang Magistrate's Court in Bangkok.
Labour rights organizations are deeply concerned about the closing of democratic and civil society space in Cambodia. This trend has recently escalated with alarming high-profile incidents of repression against political leaders, non-governmental organizations, and independent media.
Global coalition calls for end to prosecutorial persecution with criminal defamation law
(BANGKOK) – Prosecution of migrant workers and their advocates under criminal defamation laws for reporting violations of Thailand’s labor law violates Thailand’s international legal obligations and business’ obligations to respect human rights under the U.N.
International Labor Rights Groups Criticize Criminal Complaint Against Deceased Workers at Multifabs Ltd and Call for Thorough Investigation and Full Compensation for Victims
According to media reports, police have filed a criminal complaint against ten people following the July 3rd explosion at the Multifabs Ltd. facility. The complaint accuses the individuals of negligence of duty, injury and murder. The only three individuals named in the complaint were killed in the explosion. An inquiry into the causes of the explosion has yet to be completed.
Labor Rights Groups Reiterate Call for Swift Action
The following is the statement of the Witness Signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh – Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Worker Rights Consortium and Maquila Solidarity Network – concerning the boiler explosion at Multifabs Ltd.
Government response has not yet improved situation for migrant workers
The U.S. State Department has left Thailand on the Tier 2 Watchlist, just above the lowest ranking of Tier 3, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, despite clear evidence that migrant workers remain highly vulnerable to human trafficking and that Thai legal institutions are failing to adequately protect victims or prosecute offenders.
Unprecedented Public Response to Administration Request for Comment Spotlights Political Stakes of NAFTA Renegotiation
The broad coalition that derailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) delivered more than 100,000 petitions demanding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be replaced with a deal that benefits working people. Activists with “Replace NAFTA” signs and T-shirts made the delivery today as witnesses arrived for hearings on NAFTA renegotiation at the U.S. International Trade Commission. This followed the unprecedented submission of more than 50,000 comments to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) docket on NAFTA talks.
As stakeholders gather at the 5th annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) European Roundtable to begin discussing the review of the certification body’s standards, known as the Principles and Criteria (P&C), NGOs remain critical that improvements to its standard will not be enough to ensure responsible palm oil production without serious reforms to its auditing, enforcement and complaints systems.
ILRF, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Free the Slaves, and Verité submitted a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies calling for continued funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ grant programs.
Tomorrow, 18 May, the third annual review of the so-called “Sustainability Compact” between Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organization takes place in Dhaka. Despite optimism voiced by the EU, Bangladesh is still far from meeting its international labour rights’ commitments and taking concrete steps enshrined under the Compact. A striking example is the wave of repression which the the Bangladeshi labour movement has faced since December 2016.
ILRF condemns the recent brutal attack against Moisés Sanchez, Secretary General of the Honduran agricultural union STAS, for organizing workers to seek better working conditions and basic labor rights on Fyffes’ melon plantations in Choluteca, Honduras.
On April 13, 2017, Moisés and his brother Misael were returning home from a union meeting when they were intercepted by four armed men. Misael was seriously wounded in the face with a machete after trying to free his brother from the assailants.
On 24 April 2017 the Clean Clothes Campaign network will be remembering those killed and injured at Rana Plaza, the multi-story building which collapsed in Bangladesh four years ago. In a statement released today Clean Clothes Campaign sends its thoughts and sympathies to those still grieving for their loved ones, and those still suffering from the physical and psychological scars left by the disaster.
17 Align with Transparency Pledge; Others Should Catch Up
(London, April 20, 2017) – More apparel and footwear companies should join 17 leading apparel brands that have aligned with an important new transparency pledge, a coalition of unions and human rights and labor rights advocates said in a joint report issued today. The pledge commits companies to publish information that will enable advocates, workers, and consumers to find out where their products are made.
Human rights groups condemn detention of Turkmen activist on false charges
(Washington, DC – March 23, 2017) Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) reporter Gaspar Matalaev remains imprisoned on false charges of fraud, despite his family’s hope that he would be released in December and again in February, when others charged with the same offense were given presidential pardons. Matalaev likely remains imprisoned due to his work monitoring state-sponsored forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton harvest.
After months of intense efforts by labor unions, and labor and human rights organisations, all over the world, yesterday, Bangladeshi trade unionists, the government and the employers’ organisation announced the planned release of all remaining detained labor leaders. Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium welcome the announcement as an important first step, but warn that in its current form it still falls short of fully resolving the crisis in Bangladesh.
Withdrawal from Factory Owners’ “Apparel Summit” is in Response to Two Month Campaign of Repression Against Bangladesh’s Garment Unions
Seven leading apparel companies -- H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara), C&A, Next, VF Corporation, and Tchibo -- have pulled out as key speakers and participants from the Dhaka Apparel Summit, organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Their decision to withdraw is a response to the campaign of repression against the labor movement carried out by the Bangladesh government and factory owners over the last two months.