Human rights doesn't respect country boundaries

Human rights doesn't respect country boundaries

In late July London’s Court of Appeal agreed to reopen a $7 billion lawsuit by 200,000 claimants against Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP

Summary: In late July London’s Court of Appeal agreed to reopen a $7 billion lawsuit by 200,000 claimants against Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP – a case regarding the dam rupture behind Brazil’s worst environmental disaster in 2015. This decision has opened the way for parent companies to be held accountable for the acts of their subsidiaries as well as for acts they commit on foreign soil.

Why this is important: Companies and investors used to think that legal action could only take place in the country where the breach occurs, that the parent company was either immune, or that they could stall compliance for a long time. But is this assumption going to be correct in the future?

The big theme: Human rights issues are moving up the political and social agenda. And this goes a lot wider than most companies and investors will expect, covering supply chains, and the right to be protected from harm, and for culture and ways of life to be respected. And these rights increasingly have legal and financial teeth.



The details


Summary of a study published in The Guardian:

In late July London’s Court of Appeal agreed to reopen a $7 billion lawsuit by 200,000 claimants against Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP – a case regarding the dam rupture behind Brazil’s worst environmental disaster in 2015. The collapse of the Fundao dam, owned by Samarco – a venture between BHP and Brazilian iron mining firm Vale, killed 19 and destroyed a number of villages – which means houses, livelihoods, and futures for inhabitants, as a more than 40 million cubic metres of mining waste swept into the Doce river and subsequently reached the Atlantic Ocean over 600 km away. The case will probably be heard in 2022 and in all likelihood be appealed subsequently to the UK Supreme Court.

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