No impunity for American companies committing rights violations, says civil society to U.S. Supreme Court

On October 21, 2020, Access Now joined a civil society amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case Nestlé USA, Inc. v. John Doe I. Former child slaves from Côte d’Ivoire are suing Nestlé USA and Cargill in the case, arguing that the two American companies should be liable under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) for aiding and abetting slavery abroad.

The amicus brief argues that American tech companies should also be held accountable under the ATS, and points to the statute’s importance for situations where companies export repressive technologies to regimes that violate human rights.

“The Alien Tort Statute has historically been an important tool to allow survivors of human rights abuses committed abroad to find justice in U.S. courts,” said Natalia Krapiva, Tech-Legal Counsel at Access Now. “U.S. companies that help oppressive regimes conceal the torture of peaceful protesters or supply surveillance technology to hunt down regime critics should be held liable for their actions.”