Editor’s note: Constance Kwant is an experienced international lawyer who has worked as in-house senior legal counsel for a top tier international financial institution in both Hong Kong and the Netherlands. She has a specific interest in sustainable business and human rights, including responsible finance.
This post aims to outline, briefly analyse and to provide a critical comment in relation to striking a balance between confidentiality and transparency in the procedure followed by the Dutch National Contact Point (‘NCP’) in the Specific instance procedure filed in December 2015 by three former employees (‘Representatives’) on behalf of a group of 168 former employees of Heineken’s subsidiary Bralima SA (‘Bralima’) in Bakavu, located in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (‘DRC’).
The case, finalised in August 2017, concerns alleged violations of labour and human rights by Bralima in the period 1999-2003, a period during which the DRC was a highly volatile and conflict-affected country, where the eastern part of the DRC was effectively under control of rebel movement DRC-Goma.The complaint also alleged that Bralima had cooperated with DRC-Goma in a number of ways throughout this period. On the basis of the alleged violations, the Representatives sought financial compensation by filing its notification with the NCP.
Since the allegations were brought forward to the NCP under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, this post will first provide short background information on the OECD Guidelines and the workings of the Dutch NCP, subsequently moving through the proceedings, its outcome, and a brief analysis with a critical note. More...
Editor's Note: Marie Wilmet is a research intern in Public
International Law at the Asser Institute. She recently graduated from Leiden
University’s LL.M. in Public International Law. Her main fields of interest
include international criminal law, humanitarian law and human rights law as
well as counterterrorism.
Alliance for Torture-Free Trade was launched
on 18 September 2017, at the 72nd Session of the United Nations (UN)
General Assembly, by a common initiative of Argentina, the European Union (EU)
and Mongolia. It aims
at ending the trade in goods used to carry out the death penalty and torture.
Indeed, even though torture is unlawful under public international law, these
goods are currently available on the open market across the globe. By banning
such tools from global trade, the Alliance hopes to reduce the possible human
rights violations by complicating the perpetrators’ acquisition of the means to
execute and torture people.
initiative is part of a broader agenda both at the UN and EU level. It falls
under the broader umbrella of UN projects such as the UN Guiding
Principles for Business and Human Rights or the UN Global
Compact. Moreover, the EU has tried in the recent years
to strengthen the rule of law by conducting policies where trade
and values are more interrelated. As the EU
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström stated,
“human rights cannot be treated as an afterthought when it comes to trade”.
blog will first retrace the origins of the Alliance by outlining the current
factual and legal framework surrounding torture, the death penalty and related
trade. Then, the Alliance and its ambitions will be analysed, along with the
chances of its effective implementation. More...