Human Rights and International Development News Round-Up

May 29, 2008

Human Rights and International Development News Round-Up (Issue 99)

May 29 2008


A round-up of the main human rights and international developement news stories from Apri and May 2008

A large proportion of major companies are investing in programs to help employees with the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to a report by The Conference Board. The report, which surveyed 134 health benefits and HR executives, found 82% of companies participating in the study have HIV/AIDS programs designed to help those employees living with the condition or at risk of infection. More than two thirds of the companies
surveyed have already been affected by HIV/AIDS, with one-fifth of these expecting the epidemic’s impact to increase over the next three years. There were 33.2 million people living with HIV in 2007, with forty per cent of new cases found in people between 15 to 24 years old, the age range at which individuals tend to enter the workforce.

Contact The Conference Board press contact
& 001 212 339 0231

Ensuring children’s rights are not abused is crucial both from an ethical and a financial standpoint, according to a new report aimed at corporations operating in high-risk sectors and countries. NBIM Investor Expectations on Children’s Rights, published by Norges Bank Investment Management, is meant as a reference for both investors and companies around the world, and specifies investor expectations for corporate performance in relation to issues of child labour and preventing the abuse of children’s rights. These expectations are based on
criteria for preventative corporate action in regard to the worst forms of child labour, maintaining the minimum working age and promoting child welfare. The report states that while child labour is declining, there are still 218 million child labourers aged 5 to 17, with 126 million of them engaged in dangerous work.

Contact Norges Bank Investment Management &
0047 22 31 62 76

An investigation into the ethical behaviour of many transport companies has discovered some of those operating in the UK are involved in abusing human rights and animal welfare. The report, carried out by Ethical Consumer Magazine and published in their May/June 2008 issue, also reveals the most ethical ways of travelling the UK. “We have looked at issues ranging from environmental reporting, political activity and workers’ rights to animal welfare,” said Sarah Irving, editor of Ethical Consumer. “The companies show dodgy ethics in many categories, but most notably we discovered that AP Moller Maersk, the owner of Norfolk Line ferries, has benefited financially from the war in Iraq.” The report also states animal rights abuses, such as Air France’s transportation of primates for animal testing, have been the target of consumer campaigns. On a good note, several companies such as Virgin, EMT and Eurostar, were praised for selling Fairtrade and even organic products.

Contact Ethical Consumer magazine
0161 226 2929

A three day debate at the United Nations General Assembly into the current status of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals has concluded that unless significant action is taken none of the goals in sub-Saharan Africa will be met. One in three people living in sub-Saharan Africa are currently malnourished, and unless progress is made almost one billion will be existing on one dollar a day by 2012, according to UN statistics.
General Assembly President, Srgjan Kerim, called for more to be done and stated 2008 should be a year of action. He suggested a thematic debate on the Millennium Development Goals should be held every year to assess the situation and hold partners to account. The debate, which took place at the beginning of April, was held with 117 speakers, including 10 ministers and 9 vice-ministers, representing 110 countries.

Contact Department of Public Information
001 212 963 6816