ECA Watch releases report 'ECAs and Human Rights: Failure to Protect'

GENEVA - December 3, 2014.

International civil society network ECA Watch released a new report today titled Export Credit and Human Rights: Failure to Protect at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. The report calls on states to fulfill their duty to protect human rights through the operations of their export credit agencies.                   

ECA Watch and Brazilian network Justiça nos Trilhos shared analysis regarding export credit agencies (ECAs) - public entities that provide multinational companies with financing, insurance and guarantees - on a panel today at the annual UN event.

Failure to Protectuses several case studies to illustrate that ECA-supported investments are often associated with human rights abuse, despite the OECD Recommendation known as the Common Approaches, which provides guidance to ECAs and includes a reference to human rights.

“The massive Carajás iron project in the Brazilian Amazon has harmed local indigenous and Afro-descendant populations, in contravention of local laws,” said Danilo Chammas of Justiça nos Trilhos. “Yet the company that operates the project, Brazilian mining giant Vale S.A., received financing from Export Development Canada, the Canadian export credit agency.”

“The German government provided a guarantee for the Hidrosogamoso dam, which is under construction in Colombia, through its export credit agency, Euler Hermes. The project has devastated the local economy. Since 2009, six community leaders who oppose the project have been killed or disappeared,” said Heike Drillisch from CounterCurrent.

The ECA Watch publication also includes case studies on the Sasan power project in India, which received financing from the US Export-Import Bank; the Suape seaport in Brazil, which was insured by the Dutch ECA, Atradius; and ECA support for investments in Belarus.

Failure to Protect shows that states must do more to prevent complicity in human rights abuse,” said Karyn Keenan from the Halifax Initiative. “ECAs must be required to undertake effective and transparent human rights due diligence.”

Export Credit and Human Rights: Failure to Protect