ASF’s East Africa regional hub

This article was published in ASF’s 2022 annual report.

In recent years, ASF has progressively adopted a regional approach to its activities in East Africa. To lead the organisation development in the region and enable the implementation of strong and coherent regional strategies, a regional hub was created in Kampala in 2021. It is currently made up of three staff, in addition to the Regional Director and the respective Country Director for Uganda and Coordinators of Programs for Kenya and Tanzania.

Countries in East Africa share historical, economic, political, social and cultural ties, and have become increasingly integrated. In this context, issues of interest to ASF, such as the governance of natural resources, detention, or security and liberty, may cut across several countries. Lessons learnt when implementing programs in one country can therefore be of great significance to develop our action in other contexts.

Since its creation, a key role of the Regional Office has been to strategically compile and redistribute knowledge across all programs. This has allowed for synergies to be developed, while also leaving space for the contextualization of each intervention.

In addition to this, the creation of new roles dedicated to specific technical functions within the regional team has provided a way for ASF to improve methodological support to the various country teams, in areas such as research, monitoring and evaluation, strategic litigation, and advocacy.

A key priority for the Regional Office is also to identify opportunities for development at a regional level, including through the drafting of multi-country and regional projects. In March 2022, ASF launched a two-year project funded by the Belgian DGD entitled ‘Protecting Civic Space: a Public Interest Litigation Approach’. Covering three countries in the region, the project aims to contribute to the advancement of the rule of law in East Africa through mobilizing civil society around regional human rights treaty bodies, mechanisms and instruments.

Moving forward, the Regional Office intends to keep strengthening ASF’s presence at a regional level in East Africa. Whether through advocacy, strategic litigation, or other engagements with external stakeholders, efforts will continue throughout 2023 to ensure that ASF’s work is visible and impactful in the region.

Morocco – Corporate social and environmental responsibility

This article is part of ASF’s 2022 annual report.

In Morocco, ASF is committed to promoting the protection of human rights in the private sector, in order to contribute to the full achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

In partnership with the Rabat Social Studies Institute (RSSI), ASF is working on the issue of corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSER). CSER aims to ensure economic development while protecting the human rights of populations affected by corporate activities. Approaching corporate responsibility from the perspective of human rights, as recognised by international law, provides a legally stable framework likely to prevent human rights violations that could be committed by economic actors.

Morocco has ratified several international conventions relating to respect for human rights and sustainable development. These include the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the guiding principles of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

At national level, Morocco has adopted a series of programmes and strategies for sustainable development and energy transition. The country has drawn up codes of good practice for governance and a new development model that gives a central place to social and environmental considerations. But despite these encouraging initiatives, national and international CSER commitments have yet to be fully implemented.

As in its other countries of operation, ASF seeks to contribute, with its local partners, to promoting compliance with the social and environmental standards in force, whether their origin is the national legislative framework or international law. With this in mind, ASF is organising a series of conferences on “Business and human rights in Morocco” with the RSSI.

The events will bring together a wide range of stakeholders: institutional actors, companies, subsidiaries of multinationals, professional associations, trade unions, journalists, academics and members of civil society. All aspects of CSER will be addressed: the normative dimension, the ethical dimension, the environmental dimension, the social dimension and the participatory dimension, with a focus on the role of civil society and consumer protection.

ASF’s annual report is available!

The Avocats Sans Frontières team is delighted to present its latest annual report.

We have come a long way since ASF was founded in 1992 by a group of Belgian lawyers. Over these 30 years, hundreds of people have contributed to making the organisation what it is today: a militant organisation active in a dozen countries, working to promote access to justice and the rule of law based on human rights, in close collaboration with local actors.

These thirty years of action, the local roots we have developed and the links we have forged with human rights defenders from the four corners of the world give us a great deal of strength and confidence as we look to the future and continue to deploy impactful action in the service of populations in vulnerable situations (women, children, the LGBTQI+ community, ethnic minorities, people in detention, people in migration, etc.).

But the challenges are many. All over the world, civil society organisations and human rights defenders are faced with worrying developments and trends: the rise of authoritarianism, the shrinking of civic space, growing public distrust of institutions, heightened social tensions, etc.

Defenders of human rights and access to justice have to work in contexts that are increasingly hostile to them. The very notions of human rights and the rule of law are being called into question. Activists, lawyers and journalists working to defend the fundamental rights of populations in vulnerable situations are increasingly systematically targeted by repressive policies.

Every page of this report bears witness to the vigour of the flame that drives those who are committed to upholding human rights at the very heart of our societies, at the risk and peril of their own freedom. This report is a tribute to each and every one of them.

ExPEERience Talk #10 – Corporate accountability and human rights: the case of the textile industry in Tunisia

  • When? 22 June 20231pm (GMT+1 – Tunis) ; 2pm (GMT+2 – Brussels)
  • Language of the presentation: French
  • On Big Blue Button

At the 10th ExPEERience Talk, Nadia Ben Halim (consultant) and Zeineb Mrouki (Programme coordinator at ASF Tunisie) will present a study on corporate responsibility with regard to human rights in the textile sector in the governorate of Monastir in Tunisia.

The textile industry is now worth 3,000 billion dollars and is one of the world’s most important economic sectors. In Tunisia, clothing production accounts for a quarter of the country’s industrial output in terms of gross domestic product, making it a central sector of the Tunisian economy. However, for years, human rights organisations and official reports have documented systemic violations of workers’ rights (undignified working conditions, informal and illegal work, etc.). Among the companies guilty of flagrant violations of workers’ rights are many subcontractors of multinational companies. These systematically fail to meet their obligations and apply the duty of care throughout the supply chain, as required by international standards.

The study, based on documentary research, field surveys and, in particular, consultations with women workers in the textile sector in the governorate of Monastir, reveals systematic violations of workers’ rights, including the lack of social security cover, unfair dismissals, failure to account for overtime, and discrimination specifically targeting women. Recommendations are made to combat the impunity of companies in the face of the legal violations they commit.

This study is part of the PREVENT – Pour une Responsabilité et une Vigilance des Entreprises project, carried out in collaboration by Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF), the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) and I Watch. In particular, this project has led to the establishment of a mechanism to provide access to information and legal assistance to those most exposed to violations by industrial companies, particularly in the textile sector.

The study will be published on the ASF website at the end of June. You can already read the policy brief on the ASF website: “Les travailleueur‧euse‧s du textile tunisien en quête de dignité et de justice face à des pratiques abusives et discriminatoires”.

Policy Brief: Tunisian textile workers in search of dignity and justice in the face of abusive and discriminatory practices

Perenco: The social and environmental impact of the French oil company’s activities abroad

Perenco has been in the news for several weeks. An environmental investigation carried out by EIF (Environmental Investigative Forum) with the support of the media Investigate Europe and Disclose has led to the publication of damning information on the French company’s activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo[1]. And the NGOs Sherpa and Friends of the Earth have taken legal action against the company for failing to carry out due diligence on its oil exploration and extraction activities abroad[2].

Poor governance in the management of natural resources, conflicts of interest, pollution and environmental damage linked to its activities, failure to involve the affected communities in the decision-making processes linked to the management of their land, lack of accountability with regard to the normative framework in force, etc. The list goes on.

In the field, Avocats Sans Frontières has monitored numerous violations of the fundamental rights of communities affected by the poor governance of natural resources linked to the company’s activities, particularly in the Muanda territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Several studies and reports (RENAD, CEPECO, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, and even a report by the Congolese Senate) reveal devastating practices, both for the environment and for the health and livelihood of local communities[3]. Among the violations reported: infringements of the right to a healthy environment, the right to health, the right to work and the right to dignity.

In the Muanda territory, the company has build power dynamics that systematically are to the disadvantage of local communities. The company does not fulfil its obligations under Congolese law and does not respect relevant international principles.

There are serious failures to consult and dialogue with the populations affected by its activities. The company has refused to respond to letters and requests for meetings from various civil society organisations and community members on many occasions.

The company famously refused to be involved in the discussions that took place during a round table organised in Kinshasa in July 2022 on the theme of natural resource governance which was attended by local, institutional and civil society actors.

This is a clear violation of Congolese law, which requires Perenco to consult the various stakeholders, including the affected communities.

In this regard, ASF commends the action initiated by Sherpa and Friends of the Earth before the French courts for ccological damage.

ASF would like to remind all stakeholders, including economic actors, the Congolese state and local representatives, of their obligations and their duty of accountability, in particular to promote and ensure a system of governance based on the fundamental rights of local populations.

In this regard, ASF makes the following recommendations:

– Implement the ministerial decree that organises the functioning of the mechanism for managing funds dedicated to community development (Cecetem);[4]

– Implement the ministerial order for the implementation of a follow-up to the recommendations of the tripartite round table (communities, companies and government);[5]

– Strengthen the mechanisms for collecting and processing community complaints, particularly by making them transparent and accessible to all;[6]

– Strengthen the state’s technical services to ensure transparency throughout the oil and gas industry’s value chain and to suppress all forms of impunity for economic actors. 

ASF’s action and role regarding Perenco’s activities

The multinational oil company has been under scutiny for many years because of the opaque and controversial management of its activities in several countries.

ASF, in partnership with Sherpa and Friends of the Earth, had tried in vain to demand that the company be transparent about its activities abroad. 

In 2018, ASF submitted a complaint to the French National Contact Point (NCP) of the OECD to ensure that the company fulfils its duty of transparency in relation to its oil and gas exploration and production operations. In March 2021, ASF and IWatch finally decided to withdraw from the procedure, highlighting the structural dysfunctions of this tool from the OECD[7].

In January 2022, the French NCP published its final statement in which it specified that Perenco did not comply with several recommendations of the OECD Guidelines regarding its activities in Tunisia, in the Kebili region.

The NCP made a series of recommendations to the company:

– Perenco must comply with its due diligence in its exploration and exploitation activities;

– Perenco shall prevent and further mitigate social and environmental risks arising from the activities of its operating subsidiaries;

– Perenco should follow up on appropriate remedial or corrective actions in the event of adverse environmental, labour and human rights impacts, including through the transparent sharing of information on its activities[8].

Avocats Sans Frontières reaffirms its commitment to the fight against the impunity of economic and industrial actors. In the field in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisia or Uganda, our teams continue to support and accompany communities affected by human and environmental rights violations suffered in the context of industrial extractive activities.

[1] Perenco : révélations sur les ravages du groupe pétrolier en RDC,, 9.11.2022 ; Perenco files: Les secrets toxiques d’un géant du pétrole,, November 2022.


[3] Renad, Cris d’alarme des Communautes Locales : Impacts de Perenco Rep sur le cadre de vie des communautés de Muanda en r.D.Congo,;

CEPECO, Rapport sur l’exploitation pétrolière à Moanda Bas Congo,;

CCFD, Pétrole à Muanda: la justice au rabais, ;

Commission d’enquête sur la pollution causée par l’exploitation pétrolière à Muanda dans la province du Bas-Congo :






Putting the interests of local populations at the heart of natural resource exploitation: Transparency, accountability and protection of rights

Congo natural resources

This article was originally published in the Annual Report 2021 of Avocats Sans Frontières.

ASF has been active in the field of natural resource governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2018.
Its activities in this area are mainly concentrated in 3 regions: in the provinces of Ituri and Haut Uélé in mining sector and in the province of Central Kongo in the hydrocarbon extraction sector.

The action implemented by ASF and its partners in these three provinces is based on the fight against corruption and human rights violations caused by the activities of the extractive industry. This action is deployed mainly through three types of activities.

(i) ASF and its partners set up awareness and information campaigns for local communities on their procedural and substantive rights, as well as on environmental issues related to the natural resource governance.

(ii) Members of affected communities are encouraged to participate in the governance of natural resources in their region and to challenge their representatives to ensure that the principles of transparency and accountability are respected.

(iii) ASF and its partners strengthen the protection of the rights of local community members through the prevention and resolution of conflicts related to the exploitation of natural resources.

Recent legislative developments are moving in this direction. In 2015, a law on the general regime for hydrocarbons was enacted. This obliges oil companies to take into account the rights and welfare of local communities and to respect sustainable environmental management. In 2018, a law was passed to strengthen the rights of local communities affected by the mining sector. It aims to put in place regulatory mechanisms to reduce the negative impacts of mining projects on human rights and to ensure that local residents benefit from the economic profits of mining through the funding of various community development projects.
A solid legislative base to promote transparent management of natural resources that respects human rights and the environment exists in the DRC, but these laws have not yet produced the desired results.

This is why ASF is conducting advocacy work with local and national decision-makers. Several advocacy actions were carried out in 2021, in particular to ensure that compensation for environmental damage caused by extractive activities is effectively paid to local communities.

EU Due Diligence legislation : the EU Commission unveiled its proposal but serious gaps persist

On Wednesday 23 February, the European Commission presented its proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937. It imposes a principle of due diligence on companies with regard to human rights and environmental violations. This long-awaited text, whose initial ambition we commend, contains many gaps that could limit its scope and impact.

The purpose of the principle of due diligence provided for in the directive is to oblige companies to put in place measures to prevent human rights and environmental abuses committed by their subsidiaries, suppliers or direct or indirect subcontractors in the context of their activities in the European Union or abroad. In case of fault, companies could be held liable and could be required to compensate those affected.

In particular, the Directive will allow engaging the civil liability of companies at fault. However, the civil liability regime settled risks to be limited in scope. If a company’s business partner has contractually agreed to abide by the company’s code of conduct, the company’s civil liability would no longer be incurred. The directive also fails to take into account the many obstacles limiting victims’ access to such remedies: high litigation costs, the disproportionate burden of proof, lack of access to information, limited legal capacity, and limited limitation periods.

We also regret that the proposal does not provide a clear and satisfactory definition of the notion of direct and indirect commercial relationships between companies. This lack of transparency could also be an obstacle to victims’ effective recourse to justice.

Finally, the Directive would not apply to all companies. It is aimed at companies with more than 500 employees and a net turnover of more than EUR 150 million, and companies with more than 250 employees and a net turnover of more than EUR 40 million, but where a majority of their activities are in a high-risk sector (such as the textile industry, mining or agriculture). It therefore excludes small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the due diligence obligation.

More generally, ASF stresses the need to involve all affected – and potentially affected – groups, particularly those in vulnerable and structurally disadvantaged situations, as well as environmental and human rights defenders. The consultation obligations and the modalities for the participation of these groups are at this stage unsatisfactorily formulated.

The directive will now be debated and possibly amended by the European Parliament and EU Member State governments. We want to encourage them to take into account the various shortcomings of this first proposal in order to make the necessary amendments to achieve the ambition of this text.

Promoting access to justice through community-based mediation programs

In Uganda, access to justice is limited by the financial resources of local populations but also by the geographical distance to the courts of law. Most of the justice law and order services remain in the urban areas and central region with only 18.2% of the population in rural areas able to access a Magistrate court within a distance of 5km (compared to 56% in urban areas). This geographical distance creates a physical barrier that may result in victims or justice seekers relinquishing their rights.

Women face additional challenges as gender discrimination and patriarchal norms often discourage them to solve their disputes in State Courts. As it is considered inappropriate for women to talk about family matters in a public forum.

For all those reasons, many people use the informal justice system in order to resolve conflicts. And community-based mediators have a big role to play in order to assist local populations in their demands for justice, especially women who still face structural challenges on basis of gender and struggle to benefit from safe spaces to express their grievances.

ASF, through the DGD and LEWUTI mediation projects, provided mediation services to 633 people in 2020 in the Karamoja, Albertine and the Acholi Sub regions. Mediations conducted by ASF trained practitioners have been well received. Under the LEWUTI project for example, 94% of beneficiaries expressed satisfaction about the services.

The project design has been a key factor in its success. ASF community-based mediation program, funded by ENABLE and DGD, provides a basis for a consistent and human rights-based approach to mediation. It empowers trusted individuals within the community by enhancing their skills in dispute resolution. The mediators work within their communities and provide free mediation services to the community.

Additionally, they are each attached to a coach and a mentor to continuously provide guidance in the areas of law, and referral services they may make use of. The continuous mentorship and coaching has improved the quality of mediations as well as referrals undertaken by the mediators. It has additionally enabled them to gain trust within the community and with local leaders and elders who constantly refer cases to the ASF trained mediators.

The services provided by the community-based mediators came in very handy at the height of Covid-19 pandemic, especially because of the restrictions that resulted from the crisis. The mediators constituted critical first line legal support providers during the global pandemic, which created more inequalities in access to justice especially in the rural areas.

Press release – NGOs call out to Perenco: end the opacity to tackle the multinational’s impunity

In a letter made public today, Sherpa, Friends of the Earth France and Avocats sans Frontières call the oil company Perenco S.A out. Our associations denounce the opacity of Perenco group’s organization and operation, as well as the absence of any information on the way the French company takes into account the social and environmental consequences of its activities abroad. While its activities are regularly criticized for their negative impacts on the environment and human rights, the multinational seems to be favoring this opacity, which would allow it to continue operating with impunity.

Perenco group is a family-owned company specializing in the extraction of oil wells at the end of their life. Although little known to the public, numerous reports denounce serious environmental and human rights abuses in the various countries where the group’s companies operate. [1] Violations have been repeatedly reported in various countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisia, Guatemala or Ecuador. This could point to a systemic and generalized way of operating as well as an utter absence of effective social and environmental policy. [2]

The group is organized in a myriad of shell companies, most of which are registered in tax havens such as the Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Bahamas, [3] where access to information is completely blocked. [4] Due to the lack of transparency, it is extremely difficult to find information about the group’s organization and operation, in particular with respect to the links between the French company Perenco S.A. and the companies operating abroad.

While Perenco S.A., which is headquartered in France, denies any control over the other group’s companies when questioned about the damages resulting from its activity abroad, the group does not hesitate to claim French nationality in other circumstances. [5]

The lack of transparency makes it almost impossible to access information that would allow legal action to be taken against companies responsible for environmental damages or human rights violations that may result from their economic activities abroad. According to our information, it is indeed Perenco S.A., through its corporate policy, that controls activities carried out abroad. As such, this policy would constitute the event giving rise to the potential damages. Faced with this difficulty, our organizations have tried in vain to obtain information: Sherpa and Friends of the Earth France through a legal proceeding in the case relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Avocats Sans Frontières through an extra-judicial proceeding (mediation) in the case involving Tunisia. [6]

The publication by Perenco France of its first statement on extra-financial performance confirmed that the company has made the choice of opacity. [7] Although the current legislation can be criticized for its lack of ambition, such a report constitutes one of the rare opportunities [8] to learn more about the way such a multinational operates, as well as the nature of its activities and more importantly the way it handles social and environmental risks. [9] However, Perenco France’s report is so incomplete that it does not even fulfill legal provisions. As an example:

  • while the exploitation of hydrocarbons is at the heart of its activities and most of its employees are working abroad, Perenco’s report makes absolutely no mention of the risks associated with oil operations (all located abroad);
  • the only mention of the word oil is ironically located in the section “Fostering employee well-being” within the category “Sailing: preparation courses and participation in the Oil Cup”;
  • the report only mentions environmental risks that are related to the management of waste from the Parisian premises of the company’s headquarters: paper, cardboard, cups, etc.!

In this context, we urge Perenco S.A. to comply with its reporting obligations in terms of extra-financial performance. We also call on Perenco S.A. to put an end to the opacity of its operations, especially by communicating some key information on the group’s structure and organization, as well as the links between Perenco France and the group’s companies abroad.

Update, 31 August 2021 – In a letter dated August 4, 2021 and sent by its lawyers, Perenco S.A. responded to our letter by claiming that it was in compliance with the legislation.

In addition, the company refused to disclose the documents we requested in relation to the group’s organisation and operation. Once again, it argues that it has no links with the companies operating abroad and that it has no hydrocarbon exploitation activities. Perenco has also declined to address the many damages identified in our letter. We deplore that Perenco S.A.’s has repeatedly chosen to remain opaque about its activities and structure.

[1] RDC : Congolese Senate report by the Commission of Inquiry on pollution caused by oil exploitation in Muanda in Bas-Congo province, published in October 2013; Le Monde, Perenco, boîte noire pétrolière et toxique en RDC, October 9, 2019 ; Observatoire des Multinationales, Perenco en RDC : quand le pétrole rend les pauvres encore plus pauvres, January 23, 2014 ; Muanda : la société civile veut voir clair sur le nouveau contrat d’exploitation du pétrole par Perenco, February 22, 2018 ; Radio Okapi, Le Sénat accuse Perenco de polluer l’eau, l’air et le sol de Moanda au Bas-Congo, November 26, 2011; Radio Okapi, Kongo-Central: PERENCO et SOCIR accusés de sous-traiter leurs employés permanents, March 2, 2017. Gabon : Medias 241, POLLUTION : LANCEMENT D’UN AUDIT OPÉRATIONNEL DES INSTALLATIONS DE PERENCO, January 22, 2021 ; RFI, Pollution pétrolière au Gabon: des actions en justice contre la société française Perenco, January 23, 2021 ; Peru/Amazonia: Observatoire des Multinationales, Perenco, Mauret et Prom : des firmes pétrolières francaises à l’assaut de l’Amazonie, December 20, 2013 ;  CCFD-Terre solidaire, Le Baril ou la vie ? Impacts des activités des entreprises pétrolières françaises Perenco et Maurel & Prom en Amazonie péruvienne : quelles responsabilités des entreprises et des états?, September 7, 2015. Guatemala: Observatoire des Multinationales, Perenco au Guatemala : exploiter le pétrole coûte que coûte ?, December 13, 2010 ; Le Monde, L’entreprise pétrolière franco-britannique Perenco en conflit avec des populations du Guatemala, October 14, 2012. Equador : Business and Human Rights Resource Center, Ecuador: Protesters call for oil company Perenco to “leave & pay for environmental damages”, July 4, 2006. Colombia :  Centro de medios independientes, Derrame de Petróleo en Petén, July 2, 2015. Venezuela: Reuters, Exclusive: France’s Perenco, Russia’s Gazprombank named in Venezuela graft case – source, November 1, 2018; US Department of Justice, Former Executive Director at Venezuelan State-Owned Oil Company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., Pleads Guilty to Role in Billion-Dollar Money Laundering Conspiracy, October 31, 2018. Trinidad e Tobago: Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, Perenco workers beg authorities to step in, December 22, 2020. Camerun: Médiapart, À PERENCO CAMEROUN: NATIONAUX ABONNÉS AUX DÉCLASSEMENTS, HARCÈLEMENTS, LICENCIEMENTS, July 27, 2016. Tunisia: in 2018, a procedure was started before the French National Contact Point of the OECD in relation to the group’s operations in Tunisia.

[2]  Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (A/HRC/17/31, 2011); OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (rev. 2011).

[3] For more information, see here.

[4] 39 Perenco Group companies appear in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Bahamas Leaks database, whose files uncovered the existence of shell companies and trusts created in the Bahamas; ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database, Results for Perenco. For more on the Bahamas Papers, see ICIJ, Former EU Official Among Politicians Named in New Leak of Offshore Files from The Bahamas, September 20, 2016.

[5] Reuters, Ecuador to pay $374 million to French oil company Perenco to settle dispute, June 2, 2021.

[6]  See Le Monde, Perenco, boîte noire pétrolière et toxique en RDC, October 9, 2019; Press release of Sherpa and Friends of Earth France, L’opacité continue: la justice refuse de donner accès aux informations détenues par la pétrolière française Perenco, September 17, 2020; Press release of Avocats Sans Frontières, Saisine du PCN français pour établir la transparence sur les activités du Groupe Perenco en Tunisie, September 10, 2019. Avocats Sans Frontières and its Tunisian partner, I Watch, have since withdrawn from the procedure before the French National Contact Point of the OECD.

[7] Statement on extra-financial performance, Perenco S.A., 2020.

[8] Perenco France is not subject to the law on the duty of vigilance (because the number of employees declared is lower than the thresholds provided for by the law), and therefore does not provide further information on this basis.

[9] Article L. 225-102-1 of the French Code of Commerce. This obligation has been enshrined in French law since the law on New Economic Regulations of 2001 and was progressively reinforced in 2010 (Grenelle II law) and 2017 (Order and implementing decree on the publication of non-financial information by certain large companies and certain groups of companies).

Press release

Sherpa, Laura Bourgeois,

Amis de la Terre France, Léa Kulinowski,

Avocats Sans Frontières, Simon Mallet,; Elisa Novic,

Communiqué de presse : Appel à la sécurité sanitaire et aux droits des travailleuses et travailleurs des industries à forte intensité de main d’œuvre face à la pandémie COVID-19

Version arabe disponible ici – النسخة العربية متوفرة هنا Au vu des circonstances exceptionnelles qui touchent l’ensemble de la planète, dues à la menace grave et imminente que représente la « pandémie COVID19 » pour la santé et la vie humaines, et sur la base des diverses mesures de prévention prônées par l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS) et adoptées par de nombreux pays pour en endiguer la propagation (procédures visant à réduire les contacts humains, mesures de mise en quarantaine ou de confinement, etc),.. Le Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES) et Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF) expriment leurs profondes préoccupations quant au maintien de l’activité dans les industries à forte intensité de main-d’œuvre, notamment le secteur du textile. Les conditions-mêmes du processus de production rendent les travailleuses et travailleurs du secteur particulièrement vulnérables au risque de contamination. Tout en saluant la décision de certains fabricants d’interrompre leurs activités pendant quinze jours, les organisations signataires notent à regret la poursuite du travail dans de trop nombreuses usines textiles, dans le mépris le plus total des mesures de prévention susmentionnées. Ceci contribue à accroître les sentiments d’anxiété et de détresse des travailleuses et travailleurs, dont la situation économique est déjà extrêmement précaire. Ces personnes ne peuvent se permettre de s’auto-isoler par crainte de perdre leur travail, ainsi leur principale ressource de survie. Par conséquent, les organisations signataires en appellent au devoir de vigilance et de responsabilité des parties prenantes, notamment les industriels du secteur, pour faire face à cette pandémie dans le respect la protection de la santé des travailleuses et travailleurs. C’est dans cet esprit que les organisations signataires invitent : Tous les propriétaires d’usines à :
  • Consulter les décideurs institutionnels en vue de décider la suspension immédiate des activités de production et l’octroi de congés exceptionnels aux salariées ;
  • Prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour assurer le paiement des salaires des travailleuses et travailleurs sans délai, et leur fournir un accompagnement approprié en cas de contamination.
Toutes les entreprises multinationales donneuses d’ordre du secteur textile à :
  • Différer la réception de leurs commandes en provenance des pays producteurs
  • Prendre en compte les circonstances exceptionnelles que traversent la Tunisie et le monde entier en suspendant toutes les mesures de pénalité normalement prévues en cas de retard dans les délais de livraison.
Les industriels impliqués dans la production des matériaux nécessaires à la lutte contre la pandémie à :
  • Prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires pour prévenir les risques de contamination dans le strict respect des normes sanitaires imposées par les autorités (stérilisation, mesures de distanciation sociale appliquées au travail et dans les transports, etc.).
Dans cette période difficile, nous comptons sur la prise en compte des craintes légitimes des travailleuses et travailleurs du secteur textile pour leur santé et les risques de contaminations. Nous en appelons à la responsabilité collective pour faire face, en solidarité, à cette pandémie et ses graves répercussions. Contacts presse ASF Tunisie  Zeineb Mrouki : Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Economiques et Sociaux  Romdhane ben Amor :