Litigation on double standards in agribusiness

ECCHR Policy Paper, October 2016

Pesticides have become an essential part of food and fiber production in industrial agriculture. However, contrary to what is often argued by its proponents, industrial agriculture, with its narrow focus on cash crops, does not necessarily provide people with reliable access to nutrition. Instead, rising input costs of technology and specialized knowledge put farmers in a position of dependency and at risk of exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Legal action can hold pesticide companies accountable for health and environmental damage due to pesticides. Litigation can contribute to placing checks on, and restricting the power held by, these transnational companies in the global industrial agricultural system. In coordination with social movements, trade unions and farmer associations on the ground, legal proceedings can support the emancipatory struggle of plaintiffs, petitioners, and their communities in demanding their rights and their agricultural vision.

ECCHR Annual Report 2015

May 2016

ECCHR (ed.)

ECCHR uses the law to fight for a world free from torture, oppression and exploitation. We make use of new and established legal tools to bring human rights violations to light and bring those responsible before the courts.
This work is documented in our new annual report. The report offers an overview of ECCHR’s cases, both new and longstanding. It also describes and reflects on some of the milestones of our work from 2015.
Once again we have been breaking new legal ground. We are helping refugees and migrants to enforce their right to have rights and we are using legal tools to hold transnational corporations liable for their unlawful practices in the sale of pesticides in the Global South.
We also keep fighting tenaciously in those cases that take many years of work before any breakthrough. We were pleased to hear last year that former Guantánamo commander Geoffrey Miller was called to give evidence before a French court in a case we have been working on for some years. The ECCHR-supported lawsuit brought by survivors of a factory fire in Pakistan against German clothes company KiK is currently making its way through the German courts and is increasingly discussed in the ongoing legal and political debates on working conditions in global supply chains.
The 2015 Annual Report is illustrated with photographs by mexican artist Víctor Jaramillo. His exhibition "Cuba - Definitions for an Island" was on display at ECCHR in 2015.

Make Way for Justice: Universal Jurisdiction Annual Review 2015

Report by ECCHR, FIBGAR, FIDH und TRIAL, February 2016

ECCHR (ed.)

2015 has seen the opening of the most anticipated trial of our time, that of former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre. After 30 years of impunity, he has finally been judged for the atrocities he has inflicted on his people. This historical trial could not have taken place without a unique legal tool: Universal Jurisdiction.
Thanks to this principle, States can – under certain conditions – prosecute the authors of international crimes, regardless of the place where these crimes were committed or the nationality of the victims and perpetrators.TRIAL, FIBGAR, ECCHR and FIDH make daily use of universal jurisdiction to defend victims of international crimes and fight impunity. Today, this expertise leads these NGOs to publish their second annual report of the topic: Make Way For Justice #2.
12 countries under scrutinity
In this report, 40 cases illustrate the developments of universal jurisdiction in 2015: the atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram in 2014, the crimes committed in Syria since 2011, the repression of Bahrein’s demonstrations in 2010 and many others. This study reviews 12 countries – from Sweden to Chile and from France to Senegal – who have opened inquiries, indicted or judged suspects of the most serious crimes thanks to universal jurisdiction. It also reports setbacks, such as the closing of several ongoing inquiries in Spain.

Download: Make Way for Justice #2

MakeWayForJustice#2.pdf (6.1 MiB)

Strategies to Improve Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains

Conference Report, September 2015

ECCHR (ed.) in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung

Grave fire and construction hazards in the workplace, extreme working hours, inadequate pay, gender based violence and restrictions on trade union rights as well as violence against trade unionists are all part of the everyday reality of global supply chains. These conditions have been the subject of increased political and societal debate since the fire disasters in Pakistan and Bangladesh in autumn 2012 and the Rana Plaza catastrophe in Bangladesh in spring 2013. Trade unionists and civil society actors are taking action in a variety of forms in production countries, in consumer states and on the international level in an effort to improve working conditions in global supply chains.
Over the course of the two-day symposium "Strategies to Improve Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains" ECCHR together with the DGB, the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung as well as international partners and guests analyzed and reflected on these various international and national strategies. The focus was on the question of how existing efforts can be improved and better linked with one another. We also examined the role law and legal interventions can play in this context. The report documents the main questions and findings of the symposium.

Litigation (im)possible? Holding companies accountable for sexual and gender-based violence in the context of extractive industries

ECCHR Policy Paper, June 2015

ECCHR (ed.) in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll-Stiftung

In mining but also in other extractive industries, companies headquartered in the EU or North America are often implicated in serious human rights violations such as forced evictions or the destruction of livelihoods. Resource extraction by multinational companies disrupts the social structures and norms of local communities.The extraction of high-value natural resources are
known to trigger, escalate and sustain violent conflicts, as extractive industries are based on a model that is inherently violent – not only towards ecosystems,but also towards workers, communities and women.