Multinational ignores human rights concerns

2nd May 2014

Hotel project fails UN, UK and OECD standards

Tibet campaigners made their presence felt inside and outside InterContinental Hotel Group's annual general meeting in London today. Their protest marked the launch of a new Free Tibet report revealing how the multinational's plan to open a hotel in Lhasa has failed to meet standards of corporate responsibility set out by governments and international bodies.

Intercontinental hotels and corporate irresponsibility

The report is named Part of the DNA?, a reference to IHG CEO Richard Solomons' claim that corporate responsibility is part of the company's DNA. It rates IHG's performance against the most important standards for the behaviour of multinationals and British companies operating in areas where human rights might be abused. Those include frameworks established by the United Nations, OECD and the UK government's Business and Human Rights Action Plan. The report finds that the company has breached all of these standards by refusing to answer questions or provide information about how it will ensure its hotel won't make Tibetans' situation worse. After now being asked more than five times the company is still refusing to answer questions about whether it has met the UN, UK and OECD standards designed to: • prevent a business providing support to human rights abuses; • ensure that it has assessed negative impacts of its plan and taken steps to prevent them • consult with the local community fully and effectively • ensure the human rights of employees are protected and prevent discrimination in recruitment. IHG has also twice ignored requests by the office of the United Nations Global Compact to prove that it is living up to the Compact's principles. IHG publicises that it is a member of the global scheme. IHG's decision not to answer these questions strongly suggests that the company is attempting to hide its failure to meet its responsibilities. The report has now been submitted to the United Nations and British government.

IHG AGM targeted

Security staff at the AGM looked nervous, following Tibet campaigners' audacious bed protest and die-in last year. Shareholders attending the AGM were leafleted and two questions regarding the Lhasa hotel were asked in the meeting. Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren and Patrick Cescau AGM 2014.jpg Free Tibet director Eleanor Byrne-Rosengren and Students for a Free Tibet campaigns director Pema Dolma were able to give a copy of the report to IHG board chairman Patrck Cescau who has offered the campaigners a meeting. Meetings with IHG executives have previously been unproductive due to their unwillingness to answer questions.

Take action

China has no right to invite any company into Tibet, which belongs to Tibetans. Multinational companies must not be allowed to believe that they can ignore the human rights abuses inside Tibet and work with the Chinese to exploit the country. Please support Tibetans in Tibet by signing the boycott pledge below.