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Multinationals face pressure over rights

An alliance of non-governmental organisations has launched a campaign calling for greater respect of human rights by Swiss-based multinational companies.

More than 50 groups, including Amnesty International, Greenpeace and church charities as well as trade unions and women’s associations, are collecting signatures for a petition.

It calls for legal provisions to sue Swiss firms whose subsidies abroad are suspected of violations of human rights and environmental standards.

Campaigners of Rights Without Borders said the current non-binding rules by the industry were not sufficient.

They criticised companies, including the food giant Nestlé, mining and commodities trading company Glencore and the energy Axpo firm of allegedly tolerating rights violations by their subsidiaries outside Switzerland.

However, Swiss Holdings, the Federation of Industrial and Service Groups in Switzerland, rejected the demands as counterproductive and an interference in the legal sovereignty of other countries.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR