note: Shamistha Selvaratnam is a LLM Candidate of the Advanced Masters of
European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden University in the
Netherlands. Prior to commencing the LLM, she worked as a business and human
rights solicitor in Australia where she specialised in promoting business
respect for human rights through engagement with policy, law and practice.
This report compiles all relevant news,
events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the coverage provided on
our twitter feed @DoinBizRight and on various websites. You are invited to
contribute to this compilation via the comments section below, feel free to add
links to important cases, documents and articles we may have overlooked.
Development Ministry drafts mandatory human rights due diligence
It was reported
on 10 February 2019 that the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation
and Development has drafted legislation (unpublished) on mandatory human rights
due diligence for German companies. It is reported that the law will apply to
companies with over 250 employees and more than €40 million in annual sales.
The draft legislation targets, inter alia, the agriculture, energy, mining,
textile, leather and electronics production sectors. Companies that fall within
the scope of the legislation will be required to undertake internal risk
assessments to identify where human rights risks lie in their supply chains.
Companies would also be required to have a Compliance Officer to ensure
compliance with due diligence requirements. The Labor Inspectorate, the Federal
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Human Rights Commissioner
of the Federal Government would be responsible for enforcing the legislation,
with penalties for non-compliance of up to €5 million (as well as imprisonment
and exclusion from public procurement in Germany).
case heard in the Netherlands
On 12 February 2019, the Dutch courts heard
a lawsuit involving Esther Kiobel and three other women against Shell. The
plaintiffs allege that Shell was complicity in the 1995 killings of their
husbands by Nigeria’s military. The husbands were Ogoni activists that were
part of the mass protests against oil pollution in Nigeria’s Ogoniland. The
judgment is expected to be handed down in May 2019. Read more here. More...
Editor's Note: Catherine Dunmore is
an experienced international lawyer who practised international arbitration for
multinational law firms in London and Paris. She recently received her LL.M.
from the University of Toronto and her main fields of interest include international
criminal law and human rights. Since October 2017, she is part of the team of
the Doing Business Right project at
the Asser Institute.
This report compiles all relevant
news, events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the daily coverage
provided on our twitter feed @DoinBizRight. You are invited to complete this
survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important
cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked. More...
Editor's note: Sara Martinetto is an intern at T.M.C. Asser Institute. She has recently completed her LLM in Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam. She holds interests in Migration Law, Criminal Law, Human Rights and European Law, with a special focus on their transnational dimension.
On 29th June 2017, four Nigerian widows launched a civil case against Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), Shell Petroleum N.V., the Shell Transport and Trading Company, and its subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) in the Netherlands. Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula are still seeking redress for the killing of their husbands in 1995 in Nigeria. They claim the defendants are accomplices in the execution of their husbands by the Abasha regime. Allegedly, the companies had provided material support, which then led to the arrest and death of the activists.
In the light of this lawsuit, it is interesting to retrace the so-called ‘Ogoni Nine’ legal saga. The case saw the interplay between multiple jurisdictions and actors, and its analysis is useful to point out some of the main legal issues encountered on the path to hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses. More...