Global finance giant HSBC has fully divested from drone manufacturer Elbit Systems, one of Israel's largest arms manufacturers, controversially producing drones — sold internationally on the basis they're "combat proven" — white phosphorous and artillery systems used for cluster munitions. In the past, its involvement in supplying surveillance systems and other technology to Israel's Separation Wall and settlements in the West Bank, and the US government for use on the country's border with Mexico, has led to it being excluded from pension and investment funds the world over. However, HSBC's investments in Elbit long went unacknowledged, until a 2017 War on Want report on UK banks' business dealings with companies selling military equipment and technology uncovered the connection. Roger Waters Continues Call for Boycott, Divestment and SanctionsSuch investment was … [Read more...] about Tip of the Iceberg: HSBC Divests From Israeli Drone-Producer Elbit Systems
Guiding principles on business and human rights
In August, the UN issued a report that accused Myanmar’s military of “genocidal intent.” Minutes after the release of the report, Facebook announced that it had discovered a covert campaign, orchestrated by Myanmar’s military, which sought to stoke fears about the Rohingya minority and undermine Myanmar’s civilian government. Facebook banned 20 accounts associated with the military and removed another 12 accounts and 46 pages for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour.” It was an unprecedented move by a social media company, and it prompted praise from human rights activists and proponents of transparency. But buried in the UN’s full report were other damning indictments of Facebook. The company failed to provide the UN Fact Finding Mission with “country-specific data” about hate speech on the platform and, with embarrassing irony, took weeks to respond to the UN’s request to remove Facebook posts that targeted a human … [Read more...] about How can social media companies support civil society?
This week the United Nations will negotiate a treaty that seeks to hold transnational corporations accountable for human rights violations. The European Union should actively endorse it and demonstrate its commitment to human rights standards. Five years ago a building collapsed in Bangladesh. More than 1,100 workers died and countless others were injured. Rana Plaza shocked the world. 'Never again' became the motto. Since then, health and safety conditions in the Bangladeshi garment industry have improved, thanks to some voluntary initiatives. Yet, none of the transnational corporations (TNC), which were sourcing from the plant, were held accountable in a court of law or forced to pay damages to the victims. TNCs are experts in abusing the many freedoms that our globalised economic and legal systems offer. As various leaks have shown, they barely pay taxes in the countries in which they operate. Accounting tricks and the willingness of some states to support these semi-legal … [Read more...] about [Opinion] It’s time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
Black History Month Wales begins this October... And it has given us the perfect excuse to celebrate the fact that Wales is full of brilliant, black Welsh people. To honour this annual event-packed month and this year's 70th anniversary of the Windrush arrivals, we are featuring 100 brilliant Afro Caribbean and African Welsh people who have helped shaped our nation. Each has been chosen by the Black History Wales-wide network of members as supported by the Black History Committee to mark its Black History Month theme - "Icons of Black Wales". Each has been chosen for their extraordinary commitment and contributions to public life, science, health, education, the arts, sport, business and equal rights. Each is an inspiration, has achieved something remarkable and has made a real difference. The list appears here in no particular order, and we know it could have contained hundreds of other important figures. We'd love to see your own nominations at the comments in the bottom. And we hope … [Read more...] about Brilliant, Black and Welsh: A celebration of 100 inspiring people
One of Britain’s biggest consulting and accountancy firms has been negotiating to land a major contract to help streamline and modernise Saudi Arabia’s military, the Guardian can reveal. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) confirmed it had tendered for the project, which will be part of a wholesale transformation of the kingdom’s defence ministry designed to better equip and support its frontline forces. PwC declined to comment further about the talks. It said there was an “ongoing tender process with a number of participants pitching for work”. The negotiations, for a deal that could be worth millions to the company, have drawn criticism from campaign groups. Campaigners have condemned the country’s involvement in the conflict in Yemen, claiming its airstrikes have killed civilians and amount to war crimes. Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s economic affairs programme director, urged PwC to explain what due diligence it had undertaken … [Read more...] about UK firm PwC criticised over bid for major Saudi Arabia contract