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BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 30 May '16
British companies are abusing and exploiting people abroad – and getting away with it
Traidcraft’s Justice Matters campaign highlights the urgent need for justice in international trade, shining a light on the exploitative behaviour of some British companies overseas and asking the government to do something about it.
A legal loophole
There is currently a gap in British law that means it’s almost impossible to prosecute large companies when they cause serious harm abroad. This new Justice Matters campaign will centre around a petition asking the government to close this gap.
‘In the last 10 years there have been hundreds of allegations of abuse from British companies abroad – but not one prosecution. This means that people who are often already living in poverty are being denied justice.
‘The Justice Matters campaign is simply calling on the government to hold British companies to account for their actions abroad – to ensure they act ethically. We hope that the British public will show their support and sign the petition.’
Traidcraft’s Chief Executive
The campaign highlights evidence of companies destroying livelihoods through toxic pollution, forcing people out of their homes to make way for new mines or plantations and threatening violence if anyone questions what is taking place.
The Justice Matters petition reads, ‘Some irresponsible British companies are abusing or exploiting people around the world and getting away with it. We the undersigned call on the government to update the law so that large complex companies operating in the UK can be prosecuted for the most serious cases of causing harm abroad.’
There have been 303 allegations of abuse by 127 British companies over the last 10 years – but not one prosecution.
More than two-thirds of British business leaders agree that companies operating in developing countries should be held accountable in the UK for any harm they cause there.
Nearly a third of FTSE 100 companies do business in developing countries. UK foreign investment provides around £14 billion to developing countries each year – far more than we send in aid.