Torture & ill-treatment - an introduction

Below are select introductory materials on business and torture & ill treatment.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the "Torture & ill-treatment" section of our site.

Key reports & guidance

Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide [PDF], OHCHR, IBLF, UN Global Compact & Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Faculty of Law, Monash University, Dec 2008 (scroll down to page 13: “Article 7: Right not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment or punishment”)

United States of America - Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and ‘disappearance’, Amnesty International, 5 Apr 2006 (see in particular section 2: "Planes and airports – the support network for rendition flights")

Concerns, company responses & non-responses

The Resource Centre invites companies to respond to allegations of misconduct.  Below are examples of allegations and company responses regarding torture & ill treatment.  We also indicate when a company has not responded.

Angola: Security companies for diamond mining operations in Cuango responsible for killings, torture, beatings & other abuses, says report, Sep 2006. Responses from ENDIAMA (Empresa Nacional de Diamantes de Angola), ITM Mining, Lazare Kaplan, Lev Leviev Group, Odebrecht.

Argentina: Ford statement regarding legal claims brought by former employees who say they were kidnapped and tortured on Ford Argentina premises during the 1976-83 military dictatorship, Mar 2007. Response from Ford.

Argentina: Ledesma accused of complicity with detention, torture & “disappearance” of over 400 people by dictatorship’s security forces in 1976; also accused of recent pollution resulting in illness & death. Aug, Nov 2006. Response from Ledesma. [Spanish only]

Iraq, Afghanistan: "Private Security Contractors at War: Ending the Culture of Impunity", Human Rights First, Jan 2008.  Responses from Aegis, Blackwater, Crescent Security, KBR, Triple Canopy.  No response received from Custer Battles, Zapata Engineering.

Mexico: US security firm Risks Incorporated in torture training sessions with police - includes videos of the sessions, Jul 2008. No response received from Risks Incorporated.

Peru: National Coordinator for Human Rights says new photographs confirm torture of peasants who protested against Majaz Mining (now Río Blanco Copper), Feb 2009. Response from Río Blanco Copper (part of Montericco Metals).

Peru: Private security company owned by Securitas accused of torture at site of Majaz Mining, Feb 2009.  Securitas says in article it is investigating the accusations of torture in 2005 by its subsidiary Forza, acquired in 2007.

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Related stories and components

10 February 2009

[DOC] Company owned by Securitas accused of torture [Peru]

Author: Ove Gustavsson, GT-Expressen [Sweden]

Unofficial translation provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:...

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9 January 2009

Photographs confirm torture of peasants who protested against Majaz Mining [Peru]

Author: National Coordinator for Human Rights (CNDDHH)

Since 2003 the Majaz Mining Company, today called Rio Blanco [part of Monterrico Metals, owned by Zijin], operates irregularly in the land of peasant communities...for not having the consent of two thirds of the community assembly’s...By the end of...

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9 July 2008

Mexican Torture Training Raises Questions About U.S. Military/Police Aid

Author: Laura Carlsen, Huffington Post [USA]

Two videos of a torture-training session with the police force of León, Guanajuato shocked the Mexican public last week and raised serious questions about human rights…[T]he video clips show foreign private security companies teaching torture...

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29 August 2006
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Author: Gonzalo Besteiro, RosarioNet [Argentina]

Hace 30 años se produjo el “Apagón de Ledesma”. Durante la noche del 27 de junio de 1976, en medio de la oscuridad, 400 personas fueron secuestradas y torturadas, con la complicidad del Ingenio azucarero. La lucha por acabar con la impunidad continúa....

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20 April 2006

Detention centres meet NGO demands [Australia]

Author: Brotherhood of St Laurence [Australia]

Five non-government organisations (NGOs) have announced their success today in encouraging British-owned [GSL Australia (part of GSL)], which runs Australia’s immigration detention centres, to implement significant changes to ensure they operate under...

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24 February 2006

Ford sued over Argentine abuses

Author: BBC News

Former workers of an Argentine Ford factory are suing the firm over what they say were serious abuses during the military rule of the 1970s and 80s. They say local managers conspired with the security forces to have union members taken to a detention...

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9 January 2006

Sweat Shop Fighter Jailed - Mexican defended workers making clothes for Canada, U.S. [Mexico]

Author: Sarah K. Cox, Tyee [Canada]

Martín Barrios Hernández...[was] arrested December 29... Barrios is accused of attempting to blackmail the owner of several factories that assemble clothing for export... Coincidentally, Barrios had been pursuing legal channels to obtain severance pay...

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