Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

"No Correlation" of Labor Rights and Supermarkets in UN Global Compact, Kell Says No Quotes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- A study of whether European supermarket chains take seriously labor rights in the developing world was presented at the UN on March 30, and some of the companies scoring lowest turned out to be members of the UN Global Compact, through which companies claim to sign on to labor rights principles.

Inner City Press asked the presenter of the study, Catherine Nicholson of Consumers International, about the UN Global Compact. She replied that in the study, each firm was asked if it had signed on to the Compact. The study looked at this, compared to operations policies of "real benefit on the ground," and found "no correlation." Video here, from Minute 14:20. Ms. Nicholson said, "that needs to be fed back."

But who in the UN is listening? Outside a meeting of the Global Compact's board of directors on March 25, Inner City Press sought to get some answers from board members. "You can't quote anything said here," the Compact's Georg Kell said.

Inner City Press asked Kell if there would be any media availability by the Compact's directors. No, he said. Despite later complaints to Compact staff, and what seemed to be a commitment to provide some answers, including on Compact members' investments in Myanmar, nothing came.

There was no time, it was explained to Inner City Press. But the Compact had professional video and still photographers posing the Compact board members in the UN lobby, to some future promotion. No time?

  Of Compact member Casino, the French supermarket firm, Ms. Nicholson said "there is not enough information" and "they are not willing to share it." She might well have been speaking of the UN Global Compact itself.

Georg Kell, Vijay Nambiar, S-G Ban and Moody-Stuart, no comments

  Consumers International's web page for the study, here, ends with the tease, "an in-depth investigation into one supply chain is currently under way. This will be presented in the form of a documentary film in late 2010." Inner City Press asked what type of supply chain -- "fruit or vegetable?" Video here, from Minute 25:41.

  Ms. Nicholson replied, "Tropical." She added, "fruited," and committed to send more information later. Watch this site.

* * *

As Guatemalan President Admits Mining Abuse, Goldcorp Challenged, on Laws, of Wiretapping

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 17 -- Abuse by mining firms of rural Guatemala, particularly indigenous communities, has become systemic. Even President Alvaro Colom, when asked Wednesday by Inner City Press at the UN about the abuses had to admit that the current law "is not suitable." Video here, from Minute 18:32.

Inner City Press asked President Colom whether his government will respect the decision of several communities to be "mine free." Colom replied that "with respect to mines and the mining law, promoted in 1997, honestly, it's a bad law... Not only when it comes to royalties [but also] environment and natural resources [and] the rights of indigenous people to give their opinion."

Guatemala is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous People, and Colom says his government will abide by it. He said he has not issued a single new mining license. The former government, he said, did authorize many, some of which have been frozen.

  But not enough. In late 2009, for example, Maudilia Lopez Cardona and Carmen Mejia Aguilar on behalf of the residents of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, a municipality in southwestern Guatemala traveled to Canada to file a complaint with the government against Goldcorp.

They documented that Goldcorp's "Marlin mine contaminated water supplies and damaged homes while the company harassed protesters." The complaint was submitted under Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines for multinational firms. We'll see.

President Colom, pointing finger (elsewhere) at UN

 President Colom also spoke, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and then the Press, about the UN affiliated International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. Inner City Press previously interviewed the head of CICIG Carlos Castresana on such topics as his prosecution of the murders of bus drivers and his advocacy for a wiretapping law.

President Colom on Wednesday, when Inner City Press asked about the rejection of the Commission's recommendation that three "corrupt" judges not be put on the Supreme Court, cited the Commission's work on the wiretapping law, as well as on an updated arms and munitions law. He said he did not intervene in the placing of the three judges on the court due to separation of powers. "If we don't want impunity, we have to respect the division of powers," he said. Again, we'll see.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -