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Tuesday, November 17 • 07:30 - 08:50
Preventing business-related human rights abuses in Asia Pacific: Actors and actions

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Session organized by the Working Group on Business and Human rights in collaboration with UNDP

Brief description of the session:
This session will discuss the role of various actors under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in preventing business-related human rights abuses in Asia and the Pacific. The UNGPs envisage – expressly or impliedly – a role for a range of actors in promoting business respect for human rights: from States to international organisations, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), business enterprises, industry associations, trade unions, civil society organisations (CSOs), human rights defenders, lawyers, academics, and the media. Participants representing different actors will share, in a roundtable format, diverse actions they have taken (or could take) across all three pillars of the UNGPs to build an effective prevention net in Asia and the Pacific.

Key objectives of the session:
This session aims to:
  • Identify the full range of actors and their respective roles in preventing business-related human rights abuses;
  • Discuss concrete actions that various actors have taken, or should take, across all three pillars of the UNGPs to promote business respect for human rights; and
  • Explore how these actors can collaborate to complement and reinforce their specific roles and corresponding actions.

Key questions:
  • How can various actors operating within the business and human rights field contribute to preventing business-related human rights abuses?
  • What preventive strategies have worked in the past, and how can be built on those? Conversely, what has not worked in the past, and how can this be addressed in the future?
  • What opportunities for collaboration have been (or could be) tried between different actors to promote collective action aimed at embedding business respect for human rights, including to seek effective remedy?
  • Which actors, potentially able to prevent business-related human rights abuses, are missing or less active in the field? What could be done to engage them?

Background to the discussion:
As we are approaching the tenth anniversary of the UNGPs, we can observe increasing uptake of the business and human rights agenda in Asia and the Pacific. Thailand and Japan have adopted stand-alone national action plans on business and human rights, while India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Pakistan, and Mongolia are in the process of developing a national action plan. Moreover, South Korea has inserted a chapter on business and human rights in its human rights action plan and various other States in the region have introduced (or are developing) guidance, policies and legislation to promote business respect for human rights. One can also observe increasing awareness among businesses of their responsibility to respect human rights. However, for both States and businesses, critical implementation gaps remain. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, which serves as an urgent reminder that structural and systemic challenges are yet to be addressed.

In addition to States and businesses, the UNGPs envisage various other societal actors to play a critical role in promoting business respect for human rights. For example, CSOs, human rights defenders, and journalists can fulfil the vital role of monitoring and scrutinising the conduct of both States and businesses. Trade unions can strengthen the power of workers through collective arrangements, while lawyers could help affected individuals in seeking effective remedies. Further, academics can raise awareness among students and professionals about business and human rights issues and standards. The vital preventive role played by NHRIs is also well-established, e.g. they can build capacity, conduct investigations, facilitate dialogue, provide remedies, and make recommendations for law and policy reform. Finally, multilateral institutions at the regional or international level could facilitate coordination, development of cohesive policies and sharing of good practices.

avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Vice-Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

avatar for Livio Sarandrea

Livio Sarandrea

Global Adviser, Business and Human Rights, UNDP
Mr. Livio Sarandrea, is UNDP’s Global Lead on Business and Human Rights and the Team leader of: “Business and Human Rights in Asia promoting Responsible Business practices through regional partnerships (B+HR Asia)”. A Human Rights lawyer with 20 years of field experience in... Read More →
avatar for Ali bin Samikh Al Marri

Ali bin Samikh Al Marri

Chairman, NHRC-Qatar
Dr. Ali Bin Saeed Al -Samikh holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Political Science from CAIRO UNIVERSITY, and was elected in 2015 for a second term as Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar which mandated with the protection and promotion of human rights both... Read More →
avatar for Daisuke Takahashi

Daisuke Takahashi

Partner Attorney / Steering Committee Officer, Shinwa Sohgoh Law Offices / Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan
Daisuke Takahashi advises multinational enterprises on global legal compliance and sustainability including BHR/RBC issues. As Vice Chair of CSR Project Team at Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), he contributed to drafting JFBA's Guidance on Human Rights Due Diligence. He... Read More →
avatar for Yuyun Wahyuningrum

Yuyun Wahyuningrum

Representative of Indonesia, AICHR
Yuyun is currently the Representative of Indonesia to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), 2019-2021. She obtained her MA on Human Rights from Mahidol University, Thailand (2007) and now finalising  PhD at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS... Read More →
avatar for Khalid Mahmood

Khalid Mahmood

Director, Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan
Since 1996, I have worked for the Labour Education Foundation (LEF) in Pakistan. Our work is focussed on the objective of building a democratic labour movement in Pakistan. I am working as Director of the Foundation since 2001.I work closely in Pakistan with trade unions, factory... Read More →
avatar for Emmanuel Peni

Emmanuel Peni

Human Rights Defender and Co-ordinator, Project Sepik (PNG)
Author of a book called ‘Sibona’, Manu mostly worked in the Not for Profit Sector. He graduated in the area of Applied Science but mostly worked as a Social Worker and in Management. Manu set up a Community Based Micro Financing Organisation in West Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea... Read More →
avatar for Sumi Dhanarajan

Sumi Dhanarajan

National University of Singapore
Sumi Dhanarajan is the Associate Director, APAC at Forum for the Future, an international sustainability non-profit that tackles complex sustainability challenges through systems change approaches. She is an international development practitioner specialising in the impacts of the... Read More →
avatar for Chanda Thapa Magar

Chanda Thapa Magar

Deputy Secretary General, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
Chanda Thapa belongs to Magar Indigenous community in Nepal. She is currently working as Deputy Secretary General at Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Chiang Mai, Thailand. She holds more than 15 years long experience working on Indigenous Peoples Rights, women’s rights, gender... Read More →
avatar for Pensri Suteerasarn

Pensri Suteerasarn

President and Secretary General, Thai Listed Companies Association (TLCA)
Pensri Suteerasarn is President and Secretary General of Thai Listed Companies Association (TLCA). Members of TLCA are companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. TLCA has been playing an active role on advocating the corporate governance standards including the area of business... Read More →
avatar for Oyu Vasha

Oyu Vasha

Director-General of the Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Department, Government of Mongolia
Oyu Vasha, is the Director-General of the Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Department. Prior to her current appointment she was the Chief of Human Rights Division at the MFA. Since 1996 with her joining to the foreign service, Oyu has been posted to the Embassy of Mongolia to... Read More →
avatar for Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh

Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Republic of India
Gyaneshwar Kumar Singh is an officer of Indian Post & Telecommunication Accounts and Finance Service (IP & TAFS) of 1992 batch. He has done his M.A. in Sociology and MBA and LLB degrees from Delhi University. Since August 2016, he is working as Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate... Read More →

Tuesday November 17, 2020 07:30 - 08:50 CET
Virtual Room 2