You work for Intranspo, a multinational transport company, which owns Copia Airways, the national airline carrier of Copia, a high-income economy. Keen to diversify its portfolio, Intranspo is interested in acquiring Gidion Ships, a SME shipping company operating in Copia and Gidion. Following acquisition, Intranspo could become the third largest transport company in the world.
An international advocacy NGO has released a report alleging a number of human rights violations by Intranspo and Gidion Ships. The report also raises concerns over the imminent acquisition, and highlights a number of human rights abuses by Gidion Ships.
“Our report identifies a number of human rights violations by Intranspo in spite of it being a member of the International Transport Organization [fictitious], which commits participating companies to the international human rights standards commensurate with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Core Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Yesterday, a national newspaper ran a front-page cover story on Intranspo’s alleged human rights abuses, based on the NGO’s report.
While the company’s immediate response was to refute the allegations through issuing a public rebuttal in the national newspaper, the CEO is privately concerned that the company may not have completed comprehensive due diligence on all possible human rights impacts arising from its existing and planned operations.
Accordingly, the CEO asks you to discuss the allegations with your colleagues across the company and with the relevant local stakeholders on the ground, in order to determine if there are real problems, and where issues are identified, to develop and implement corrective actions.
An important part of this exercise is to complete a review of the company's human rights due diligence approach against these allegations. Your review is divided into two main tasks:
Task 1 - Human Rights Identification Exercise - Identify the human rights risks and impacts in relation to the allegations
Task 2 - Human Rights Due Diligence Mapping - Map the company's human rights due diligence approach in relation to the allegations
For each of the listed allegations, consider the relevant human rights that:
Intranspo is currently directly and/or indirectly impacting in its existing business operations, and
Has the potential to directly and/or indirectly impact, when it acquires Gidion Ships.
The Gidion Civil Liberty Organisation (GCLO) has launched a campaign against Copia Airways on 'the alleged complicity with the Copian Government of the torture of three Gidions last year'. The three Gidions claim that they were abducted in Gidion and transferred by Copia Airways to secret locations where they were subjected to torture and degrading treatment by the Copian government. The GCLO claim that Copia Airways provided logistical support to the Copian Government and that they were aware of the purpose of the flight.
Local residents living near Copia Airport, which is owned by Copia Airways, are worried that the proposed third runway will increase the existing noise pollution. Following Copia Airport's reduction in airport tax last year, demand has increased by 200%. Over the same period, 30% of local residents have developed tinnitus.
Environmentalists in Gidion claim that Copia Airways has been dumping their fuel during their night flights over the areas inhabited by the poor indigenous community in western Gidion. They have found significant increases of petroleum hydrocarbons in the soil and water. The indigenous community lives off the land.
Last year, Gidion Ships was found to have dumped illegal electronic waste in western Gidion, the poorest region in the country. The illegal waste was 5km from a school, and local children were found playing with the old and highly toxic electrical equipment. When charged in a Gidion court, the company declared that it had outsourced the job to a local Gidion firm. The local firm claims they outsourced the job to migrant labourers from Hidion. When questioned, the Hidion migrants did not speak or understand the Gidion language.
Flight stewards working for Copia Airways work on average 60 hours a week without overtime, when they are contracted to work 50 hours. They have complained to their local trade union. The trade union and management have been unable to come to an agreement and resultantly, the union has declared strike action next week. The flight stewards fear that if they strike, they will be fired. Fifty people last year who went on strike were later fired on 'poor performance grounds' which they all contested.
Six female flight stewards have discovered that they are paid 40% less than their male counterparts, in spite of doing the same job. They have complained to their trade union which has raised the issue with Copia Airways' management. Every six months, the executive management defers the issue.