Australia’s Two Modern Slavery Acts

The Australian Government has launched an online register that publishes companies’ statements on their compliance with the country’s Federal Modern Slavery Act of 2018. The website, which is searchable and available to the public, marks the first government-run website tracking companies’ compliance with efforts to eradicate modern slavery. Unlike comparable legislation passed recently in other jurisdictions, including the U.K. Modern Slavery Act of 2015, Australia’s Act makes reporting mandatory within six months of a company’s fiscal year-end.… More

As the United States Targets China’s Human Rights Abuses, Companies Should Prepare for Stricter Due Diligence on Forced Labor

As the United States seeks to take more forceful action punishing China for its escalating human rights abuses against Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang autonomous region and the citizens of Hong Kong, international businesses whose supply chains intersect with China should be prepared for new legislation and regulatory enforcement that could result in penalties. Companies will need to take additional steps to ensure their due diligence processes account for potential human rights risks associated with forced labor in Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country.… More

Toward a Credible and Universal Concept of Rights: How Racial Injustice in America Affects U.S. Human Rights Practices Abroad

The Murder of George Floyd on May 25th by a white Minneapolis police officer did not happen in a vacuum. It was not an aberration in an “otherwise functioning” justice system. Countless black men and women in America have suffered similar fates at the hands of a criminal justice apparatus that often sees black people as material threats before seeing them as human. Floyd’s death is just the most recent symptom implicating a justice system in the United States that many experts and activists consider out of control,… More

COVID-19 and Global Human Rights: Shifting Priorities for Governments, Civil Society, and Companies

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most significant global public health crises since the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-20. The spread of the Coronavirus through every continent and major metropolis has led to unprecedented policy responses from governments both large and small. As a result, the human rights community is more closely scrutinizing the impact of these responses, while many company operations are more likely to overlap with the pandemic and evolving government policy in some way.… More

Trump Administration’s Proposed Prosecution of Pipeline Opponents: Weighing Human Rights Obligations and Congressional Support

The Trump Administration is using the reauthorization of a pipeline safety statute as an opening to insert new provisions that would give U.S. authorities broader latitude to thwart and criminalize the activities of protestors opposing hydrocarbon pipeline projects.  The provision would apply to both existing pipelines and those that are under construction, with at least the partial intent of targeting large-scale protests that have encircled construction of oil transport infrastructure projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline.… More

Pioneering Dutch Law Raises Global Standards for Eliminating Child Labor in Supply Chains – Understanding the Dimensions of Compliance

The Dutch Senate recently adopted the Child Labour Due Diligence Act, a new measure with far reaching implications for the sourcing, manufacturing, and consumption of products that contain inputs from the bodies of child laborers.

The new law is the product of protracted negotiations that have taken place over several years in the Dutch Parliament.  The Dutch House of Representatives approved the legislation in February 2017 with 82 of the chamber’s 150 Members of Parliament in favor. … More

Modernizing the Modern Slavery Act: Parliamentary Review Commission Issues Second Report on 2015 UK Law

On January 22, an independent commission of three parliamentarians established to review the UK’s Modern Slavery Act released the second of four installments of its report suggesting amendments and improvements to the 2015 law. This installment of the report covers compliance with the Act and quality of the modern slavery statements companies subject to the law are required to submit. The UK Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability,… More

“A Diamond’s Origins Are Forever”—Tiffany & Co. Announce Diamond Provenance Certification Program

Tiffany & Company announced last week that it would become the world’s first jewelry company to share with its consumers information about the country of origin of each diamond they sell. This is the first in a step of transparency measures that the company is undertaking. By 2020, Tiffany hopes to provide its customers with information about where each diamond was cut,… More

Companies issue statement supporting civic freedoms and the rule of law

Following the publication of a landmark report this September that makes the case for businesses to secure “the shared space” in which enterprises and civil society both operate, last month a group of eight leading organizations released a statement supporting civic freedoms, human rights defenders, and the rule of law. The statement, which is signed by companies including Unilever, Adidas and AngloAmerican, recognizes human rights defenders as “important partners in identifying risks or problems in our business activities” and call on governments to ensure defenders are free from harassment,… More

UDHR at 70: Taking Stock of Human Rights Today

As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today, some might say that we have little to celebrate. The significant human rights gains of the early post-Cold War years appear to be coming undone as authoritarian populists take hold in countries that once seemed firmly in the democratic fold. For all of our solemn promises to “never again” permit the perpetration of genocide and crimes against humanity,… More