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Human Rights

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Webinar #1 On November 16, Baker McKenzie International Human Rights lawyer Kevin Coon participated in the Association of Corporate Counsel Middle East and North Africa program on International labour standards & human rights: Risk mitigation for business. Please click here to view a recording of the webinar. Webinar #2 On October 28th, Baker McKenzie International Human Rights lawyer Kevin Coon was joined for a conversation with Canada’s first Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise Sheri Meyerhoffer, to explore the mandate of the Office…

On November 10, the Department of State (“DOS”), Department of Treasury, and Department of Commerce released an advisory titled “Considerations for US Companies and Organizations that Conduct Business in Cambodia within Key Sectors or in Partnership with High Risk Entities” (the “Cambodia Advisory”). The Cambodia Advisory is focused on corporations and, according to the accompanying press release, is meant to caution businesses currently operating, or considering operations, in Cambodia to be mindful of interactions with…

Background on Lawsuit On November 2, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the suit brought by a class of child laborers who mine cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo (“DRC”) against several US tech companies under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”) and several common law based causes of action. TVPRA allows victims of human trafficking and certain other crimes such as forced labor to bring civil claims…

Exploring Canada’s Unique Response to Business and Human Rights Thursday, October 28, 202112:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET Join Baker McKenzie Partner, Kevin Coon for a conversation with Canada’s first Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, Sheri Meyerhoffer.June 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the leading global framework for the respective duties and responsibilities of governments and businesses to safeguard human rights in economic activities.To address international…

On October 8, the US Department of Labor (“DOL”) published a notice requesting information and comments on the following three reports on child labor and forced labor practices in foreign countries that are published by the US Bureau of International Labor Affairs (“ILAB”).  The comments will be used in preparing the 2022 edition of the TDA Report and TVPRA List, as well as any updates to the E.O. List.  The three reports are the US…

On 15 September, during the 2021 State of the Union Address, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the European Commission’s intention to introduce a ban on the import of products made with forced labour into the EU market. In her Address, the Commission President noted that there are “25 million people…who are threatened or coerced into forced labour” and that “doing business around the world…can never be done at the expense of people’s…

Yesterday, as part of its annual Virtual Trade Week series, US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions on forced labor (“the FAQs”).  The FAQs consist of responses to ten questions focused on current issues and latest developments in forced labor enforcement.  As mentioned in the FAQs, in FY2020 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020), CBP set a record by issuing 13 Withhold Release Orders (“WROs”), detaining over $55…

On 12 July the European Commission and the European External Actions Service (EEAS) published guidance on “due diligence for EU businesses to address the risk of forced labour in their operations and supply chains”. The non-binding guidance seeks to provide European companies with practical advice on the implementation of effective human rights due diligence practices to address forced labour risks in their supply chains. It also provides an overview of international standards and principles on responsible business…

In the recent flurry of US Government activity related to Xinjiang, one thing is clear: trade compliance risks continue to increase for companies with supply chains that involve Xinjiang. These latest actions add to the expanding list of companies that face import bans, export bans, and sometimes both, in addition to broader measures under consideration in Congress. This blog post summarizes the past month’s developments. Companies with Xinjiang anywhere in their supply chains should be…

Background on Lawsuit In a 8-1 decision issued last week, the U.S. Supreme Court seemingly brought an end to a 15-year lawsuit brought against Nestlé and Cargill by Malian citizens who claim to have been enslaved as children on cocoa plantations located in the Ivory Coast.  Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Nestlé and Cargill knew the cocoa plantations used child labor, and aided and abetted the human rights abuses that they and other child laborers…