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.

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.

Globalization of industry – privatization of labor standards monitoring? Europe and Germany must establish clear standards for addressing human rights risks in the supply chain

ECCHR Policy Paper, October 2013

ECCHR (ed.)

The devastating fires in textile factories in Bangladesh and Pakistan in autumn 2012 and the collapse of a building complex containing a number of garment factories in spring 2013 clearly demonstrates that the production of clothes and other goods for western markets comes at a price, a price many manufacturing workers pay with their health or even their lives. Yet these catastrophes are just the more extreme examples.

The responsibility of European corporations for human rights violations abroad: To what extent does corporate due diligence extend to subsidiaries?

ECCHR Policy Paper, October 2013

ECCHR (ed.)

The cases Danzer, Nestlé and Lahmeyer


When corporations conduct business activities abroad, whether on their own or through a subsidiary, the question arises as to their responsibility for human rights violations. Within the EU, national and European laws on labor, the environment and consumers’ rights provide quite comprehensive protection for the human rights of the European population. Outside the EU, there are often less protection mechanisms and there may be a lack of enforcement of existing laws; in many cases there is suppression of trade unions and other organizations.


Focus Asia: New regional focus and strategic cooperation with partners in South and East Asia

October 2013

ECCHR (ed.)

For years ECCHR has been active in Asian countries. However, initially we lacked the kind of direct connection to partners in Asia and local know-how that had been so helpful to the organization’s work in Latin America.  In this respect 2013 was a breakthrough year for ECCHR. Within the past year, we have developed collaboration with local partners in order to combat human rights violations in South and East Asia.

Focus: Asia - New regional focus and strategic cooperation with partners in South and East Asia describes the progress of our work in Asia.