RESOLVED: To amend Article IV of the By-Laws, by inserting after Section 4.3, a new Section 4.4.
4.4. Board Committee on Human Rights. There is established a Board Committee on Human Rights, to review the implications of company policies, above and beyond matters of legal compliance, for the human rights of individuals in the U.S. and worldwide, including assessing the impacts of company operations and supply chains on resources and public welfare in host communities.
The Board of Directors is authorized, by resolution, in its discretion and consistent with these By-Laws, the Articles of Incorporation and applicable law to: (1) select the members of the Board Committee on Human Rights, (2) provide said committee with funds for operating expenses, (3) adopt a charter to govern said Committee’s operations, (4) empower said Committee to solicit public input and to issue periodic reports to shareholders and the public, at reasonable expense and excluding confidential information, including but not limited to an annual report on the findings of the Board Committee, and (5) any other measures within the Board’s discretion consistent with these By-Laws and applicable law. Nothing herein shall restrict the power of the Board of Directors to manage the business and affairs of the company. The Board Committee on Human Rights shall not incur any costs to the company except as authorized by the Board of Directors.
Our company has become embroiled in public controversies regarding the human rights implications of products, services and corporate supply chains. Issues which typically arise for companies in our sector include labor rights, technology utilized to identify and monitor labor and human rights advocates, and technology utilized by the police and military to identify and control the movement of ethnic populations with advanced biometric identification systems. For example, in reports in the media, our company has been alleged to:
- Supply and maintain biometric access control systems utilized by the Israeli military at checkpoints inside the occupied Palestinian territory restricting the freedom of movement of Palestinians.
- Sell products used by the Syrian government to track citizens’ communications, and route data.
- Bid for contracts with the Chinese government for products used in the surveillance of its citizens, raising potential concerns regarding monitoring and targeting of political dissidents.
While our company has signed voluntary protocols regarding human rights, such statements are not part of the company’s bylaws.
The proposed by-law would establish a separate Board Committee on Human Rights, which would elevate board level oversight and governance regarding human rights issues raised by the company’s activities and policies and provide a vehicle to fulfill the Board’s fiduciary responsibilities.