ASEAN conduct training on the linkages between business activities and human rights

BANGKOK, 21 November 2017- The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) convened the AICHR Training Programme on Business and Human Rights on 13-16 November in Bangkok, Thailand. The discussions revolved around the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights in ASEAN. The training brought together around 100 participants and resource persons from the AICHR, representatives of relevant ministries and chambers of commerce from the ASEAN Member States, Dr. Surya Deva (Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights), representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), civil society organisations, business enterprises and academics

In the opening session, H.E. Dr. Seree Nonthasoot, the Representative of Thailand to the AICHR, underscored that this activity is part of the AICHR’s continuous effort to conduct trainings on relevant human rights issues in ASEAN. This year’s training intended to provide an overview on the UNGP which affirmed role of business enterprises in the fulfilment of human rights. Dr. Nonthasoot highlighted that “realising the UNGP on business and human rights could help ASEAN to become a people centered people oriented Community.”

During the four-days training, the participants discussed the development and implementation of the UNGP, which are grounded in the recognition of States’ existing human rights obligations, obligation of business enterprises to comply with applicable laws and to respect human rights, as well as the need for appropriate and effective remedies. It was noted that business enterprises have a key part in addressing human rights violations resulting from business activities. They are, therefore, encouraged to instill human rights in its mission and vision to prevent harm to the society and the environment.

Resource persons from the ASEAN Member States shared their experiences in developing National Action Plans (NAPs) in their respective countries. One of the points highlighted by the participants was the need for ASEAN to develop a regional framework on business and human rights to further forged the agenda on business and human rights in the region. On the third day, the participants went for field trips to the Judicial Training Institute of Thailand (JTI) and Stock Exchange of Thailand where they discussed how the principles of the UNGP are being implemented in Thailand.

This activity was organised by AICHR Thailand with support from partners, including the Department of Rights and Liberty Protection of the Ministry of Justice Thailand, the UNDP, and the ASEAN CSR Network, with the support of the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument Human Rights Facility (READI HRF). The Minister of Justice of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana, kindly came to open the programme.

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