Samsung target of a lawsuit that would expose human rights violations

Sherpa and ActionAid France – Peuples solidaires new lawsuit would reveal violations of workers’ fundamental rights in the smartphone leader’s factories, while consumers have just bought SAMSUNG products for Christmas

Sherpa and ActionAid France – Peuples solidaires have been investigating on these alleged violations since 2012. Today, we are filing a lawsuit for misleading advertising before the French Court in Paris against the electronic giant headquartered in South Korea, SAMSUNG GLOBAL, and its French subsidiary, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS FRANCE.

The evidences gathered for this lawsuit, among which the very well documented reports from the NGO China Labor Watch which has infiltrated SAMSUNG factories, would reveal human rights violations in SAMSUNG factories in China and South Korea.

Those reports denounce exploitation of children under sixteen, excessive working hours, lack of proper equipment putting employees in danger, as well as working conditions and accommodations incompatible with human dignity. Moreover, the use of benzene and methanol in the factories may have led to incurable diseases for several employees.

However, to build its image, SAMSUNG publishes many ethical commitments which guarantee the strict respect for workers’ rights throughout the production chain. The group even proudly states that it aims “to become one of the most ethical companies in the world”

The gap between these ethical commitments and the reality in factories as described by the NGOs is inacceptable and should be sanctioned.

While multinationals notably use these ethical commitments to maintain their competitiveness, workers and consumers are left powerless when faced with the non-compliance of these commitments. The recognition of a misleading advertising offense would restore this power imbalance.

This procedure is rooted in our long-term fight against corporate impunity, which notably led to the adoption of the French law on Duty of vigilance in March 2017. It demonstrates the need to actively pursue UN negotiations and elaborate an international legally binding treaty regulating the activities of multinationals with respect of human rights throughout their entire production chain. France now must strongly reaffirm its support for this process.

Contact:
Clara Gonzales, litigation and communication officer SHERPA: 01 42 21 33 25
Sébastien Chailleux, advocacy officer ActionAid France – Peuples Solidaires : 01 80 89 99 52

[1] http://www.samsung.com/us/aboutsamsung/vision/philosophy/samsung-spirit/