Current Campaigns and Actions

 

As the name suggests, the Human Rights Action Group is all about action - giving direct, non-violent witness to injustice and inequity. Our group encompasses a wide diversity of belief and political persuasion, but we all share a vision for a better world. Generally speaking, our mandate sees us working for the promotion and initiation of action and policies directed at the goals of world peace and the establishment of human rights for all (as defined by the UN). We're always interested in your feedback whatever your stance.

Our principle means of activism is through education. Our hope is that this will lead people to get active in their personal and political lives. See how we have been at work in the past in our history page.

Consumer Boycotts

The call to boycott certain products and companies is an almost universal cry from human rights and environmental advocacy groups worldwide. It recognises that a major part of our existence on earth involves consumption. How we decide to allocate our resources in the consumptive decisions we make can directly affect the behaviour of producers. Avoiding a certain company, say Fiat due to their involvement in the armaments industry, is one way to signal to a private company's directors that their business practices are unacceptable. Writing to them is an inseperable part of this action. Don't remain anonymous. State who you are, who you know, and the supporting reasons for your particular action. As the numbers of politically aware consumers grow, companies may begin to feel ethically responsible for their investment and production decisions.

What now follows is a table of baddies - companies who allow only the market maxim to guide their allocation of the earth's precious resources:

Company

The Reason

 

The Products

 

Shell Logo
Royal Dutch Shell

Shell's operations in Nigeria (and now Peru) suggest that environmental destruction and human rights violations have no bearing on the extraction of oil. In the words of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa: "Shell has waged an ecological war in Ogoni since 1958...Human life, flora, fauna, the air, fall at its feet, and finally, the land itself dies...Victory is assessed by profits, and in this sense, Shell's victory in Ogoni has been total." Write to Shell!

All Shell Petrol Stations, Oils, and Services

Nestle Logo
Nestlé

Nestlé aggressively markets its baby-milk formula in developing countries. Human Rights Action Group member Heidi Bentz Ashe has seen first hand in Calcutta how this practice undermines breastfeeding leading to a higher infant mortality rate. Baby Milk Action say that a baby dies every 30 seconds due to unsafe bottle feeding (Need more information?). Nestlé is one large multinational - check all food products for that evil little trademark.

Nescafé, Milo, Maggi, Perrier, Tip-Top, KitKat, Milky Bar, Go-Cat, L'Oreal

Mitsubishi Logo
Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi group of companies is one of the most diversely integrated business in the world. The makers of your video set and automobile are also one of the world's largest destroyers of rainforests in Asia, the Amazon, Canada and the United States. (Need more information?) If this wasn't enough, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is working closely with Burma's military dictatorship to supply materials for the exploitation of Burma's oil reserves. One project official said of the Mitsubishi venture, "I could not guarantee that the [Burmese] military will not be using forced labour." Write to Mitsubishi!

All Mitsubishi products. From video and home electronics gadgets, to automobiles and oil tankers.


 Ford Logo
 Nissan Logo
Volvo Logo
GM Logo
The Motor Industry

Nearly every major car manufacturer in the world is involved in the production of weapons of war. GM, for example, is the forth largest manufacturer of weapons in the world. Ford, Fiat, Nissan, Volvo, and Renault all have various military connections (source: New Internationalist). During the Cold War, automotive manufacturers were more up front about their links with the armament industry as this Fiat advertisement demonstrates.

All new & used cars & carparts from all of these companies: Ford, Lincon, Mercury, Nissan, Volvo, GM, Holden, Opel, Vauxhaul

Caltex Logo
Caltex

Caltex is the New Zealand equivalent of Texaco - one of the seven deadly oil companies operating in the world today. Caltex/Texaco currently invests heavily in Burma (More information?) sharing the profits of this nation's rich oil reserves with the current military regime. If this isn't enough, Texaco has links with arms production. In fact, Safer World quotes that out of all the oil companies that have military contracts (all mulitnational oil firms appear to have military contracts), Texaco is the one of the worst.

All Caltex Petrol Stations, Oils, and Services

IBM Logo
IBM

IBM is in the top 100 biggest arms producers in the world.

All IBM products including: Lexmark


While consumer boycotts are only a small part of an overall strategy towards a just world, they are nevertheless an effective way of influencing others for positive change and avoiding complicity with those who chose to do business in evil ways. The more one looks into the practices of companies, particularly multi-nationals who are a law unto themselves, the more one realises that the problem lies much deeper than addressing the behaviour of a number of rogue executive directors. So many large corporations behave unethically that you begin to ask whether exploitation is a necessary part of multi-national capitalism. A critical level of systemic failure is obvious. For the more radically sensitive, the next logical step is to boycott everything. Buy nothing save what is necessary to support an accountable existence on earth. This is the message that strikes at the root of the problems inherent in mature capitalism.

For more details, visit the Adbusters web site or the anti-consumerist site Enough!. The article Confessions of a Multinational provides further reading. Amnesty International has recently released a report on the mandatory role companies have under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to support human rights initiatives.