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Congolese oil wealth squandered in Geneva

An investigation conducted by the Berne Declaration (BD) reveals how Philia, a Swiss trader, has been profiting at the expense of the Congolese state-owned oil refinery, Coraf. Coraf is managed by the President’s notoriously corrupt son, Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso. Largely unknown in the opaque world of trading, Philia was able to obtain an exclusive contract to export petroleum products with no public tender process and under highly questionable conditions. This case clearly illustrates the problems that plague the commodity sector, notably the risk of misappropriation of oil rents at the expense of the population of producer countries. 

Chevron wins the Public Eye Lifetime Award, and The Yes Men bury the “Demon of Davos”

 — At the gates of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland have bestowed upon Chevron the Lifetime Award for being the most irresponsible corporation in the ten-year era of the Public Eye Awards. The US oil giant received the largest number of the neigh-on 64,000 online votes, followed by Glencore and Walmart. At the closing ceremony of the long-standing 

Opposition to stop Monsanto soybean patent biopiracy

 — Members of the coalition of No Patents on Seeds! have filed an opposition against a European patent held by the US company Monsanto. They are accusing Monsanto of biopracy. The patent EP2134870 was granted in February 2014 by the European Patent Office (EPO) and covers selecting soybean plants adapted to various climate zones for further breeding. For the patent, Monsanto screened more than 250 

Transparency in commodity trading: The Swiss Government misses regulatory opportunity offered by company move

 — The Swiss Federal Council is not prepared to include trading in a new law on the disclosure of resource payments, thereby ignoring the reality of its trader-dominated commodity hub. Trading-giant Trafigura announced this month its intention to disclose payments to governments in numerous countries, showing up the Federal Council’s unfounded reticence in including trading in the draft bill. 

The Swiss Council of States approves the postulate on compensation for victims

 — The Council of States today approved postulate 14.3663. This requires a report on access to remedy for victims of human rights violations by companies. The way is now open for the Federal Council to close a significant gap for victims of human rights violations. The Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice (SCCJ) calls for a rapid and detailed clarification of the current situation and effective 

Public Eye Lifetime Award and The Yes Men Mark Farewell from Davos

 — After 15 years of the Public Eye, the Berne Declaration and Greenpeace Switzerland are taking stock and, in their farewell to Davos and the WEF, will present a final award to one company for its 

Troubled waters off Western Sahara: Glencore plans to drill in occupied territory

 — A subsidiary of Glencore has been awarded two petroleum exploration licences off the coast of Western Sahara. The two concessions granted by the occupying power, Morocco, undermine the ongoing UN 

 — The international coalition of "No Patents on Seeds" published a report on patents on seeds on the 23d of october. The report was prompted by the fact that the European Patent Office (EPO) has already 

Stronger plant variety protection may threaten the right to food

 — Northern governments regularly put pressure on developing countries to so-called “strengthen” their plant variety protection (PVP) regimes and to adhere to the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, without 

Syngenta’s “Good Growth Plan”: “Business as Usual” Packaged as “Sustainability”

 — One year ago, Syngenta launched The Good Growth Plan, its program for responsible growth, with great fanfare. The DB report “More Growth Than Good” now takes a sobering look at the plan, one year 

Concrete and Comprehensive: The Swiss Commodity Market Supervisory Authority ROHMA acts to counter the “resource curse” and lessen Switzerland’s reputational risks

 — On-going corruption, growing inequalities and simmering conflicts mean that their abundance of natural resources leads to suffering rather than gain in too many developing countries. Switzerland, as