business and human rights

Let’s Talk About Taxation!

A Night Out Collecting Signatures Against Tax Evasion

By Theresa

On Monday, 27 March 2017, I volunteered as part of a ten-people group to collect signatures against tax evasion at a concert in Berlin. This post gives a short introduction to the human rights issues arising from tax evasion mixed with a personal account of the evening.

Starbucks_copy right EUCOM

© European Commission

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Three Reasons Why Human Rights Due Diligence Is Beneficial For Companies

By Theresa

When was the last time you – voluntarily – tried something new which looked complex to your mind and unpredictable in its consequences?  Usually, we overcome our doubts and fears once it is established that trying a new action will have benefits. This post presents three reasons why human rights due diligence is beneficial for companies. (more…)

A Very Short Introduction to… Human Rights Due Diligence

By Theresa

Human rights due diligence (HRDD for fans) is the core instrument to fulfil the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. This responsibility is stipulated in Pillar II of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This post gives you a short introduction with some signposts for detailed information at the end.

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Imagine…there’s a world where companies truly care for their longevity

First Impressions from Frank Bold’s Creating Sustainable Companies Summit

By Theresa

“Imagine” by John Lennon is one of the most iconic songs for world peace. World peace is the global, very idealistic objective to which the predecessors of today’s Business and Human Rights practitioners have adhered. In today’s world of ever-persistent globalisation, the idealistic practitioner does not want less than putting an end to corporate human rights abuses – much in the same way the generation before took the streets against imperialism and wars. Though today’s political activism may seem less visible, both generations are closely intertwined. Idealism and the willingness to see potential for radical changes in human conduct are uniting past John Lennon fans and today’s activists who have never heard him live. (more…)

Privatized Rivers of Armenia

by Sofia

Argitchi SHPP

Argitchi SHPP sponsored by KFW, GAF© Ecolur

There are around 173 small hydropower plants (SHPP) in Armenia, of which around 114 are on natural streams. The license for these SHPPs is given for about 15 years. The electricity producers sell the electricity to “Electric Networks of Armenia” CJSC for around 11-25AMD (2-5 US cents kilowatt/hours). They do not however pay minimal taxes for water usage which used to go to the community budget before. Moreover, the documents that regulate SHPP sector are 50-60 years old and there has been no updated assessment of water resources in Armenia. (more…)

Green Democracy – Mission Impossible when Local Impunity has Global Backing

by Sofia

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Amulsar © Geoteam

Lydian International Limited company is a mineral exploration and development corporation registered in an offshore zone namely in Jersey, Channel Islands. The Company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and it owns a mining and a number of exploration assets in Armenia. Amulsar gold deposit is its key asset. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have bought major stakes in Lydian but there are other shareholders too, among these the U.S., Canadian and European investment funds. IFC is a 7.9 percent shareholder and has invested over 13 million USD in multiple stages since 2007. The EBRD in its turn planned to invest up to 8 million USD to purchase shares of the company as part of its capital increase. As its existing shareholder EBRD has monitored project advancements together with an independent environmental and social consultant. (more…)

World Bank loans pushing for “war” on water

by Sofia

Azat river © Wikimedia

In 2013 World Bank provided around 30 million USD as a loan to Republic of Armenia for improving its irrigation systems. The loan was provided under the condition to repay it within 30 years. The Armenian government in its turn planned to contribute with 7.5 million USD. The project is to be realized within four years in four locations (Meghri, Geghardalich, Baghramyan-Norakert and Kaghtsrashen). Here the mechanical irrigation systems will be replaced with gravity (self-flowing) irrigation systems. The government hopes that this replacement will minimize the loss of water currently caused by worn-out pipes and that it will save money since there will be no more mechanical pumps working on electricity. (more…)