ORAL STATEMENT FROM CSO’S DURING THE AICHR INTERREGIONAL DIALOGUE: SHARING GOOD PRACTICES ON BUSINESS & HUMAN RIGHTS
4-6 June 2018, UNESCAP, Bangkok
On behalf of a majority of the civil society organizations in this event, we thank the AICHR for organizing this Interregional Dialogue on Business and Human Rights, and for ensuring participation of civil society organizations with consultative and non- consultative status with AICHR; we commend the effort of inclusion.
After hearing the discussions in this event, we wish to propose the following ways forward for the consideration of AICHR, and offer our input and participation in next steps:
1. Affirm its commitment to a Regional Action Plan to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and existing obligations under the core human rights treaties, and provide clarity on the process moving forward. This is urgently required to mitigate the adverse human rights impacts of primarily the ASEAN Economic Blueprint in the integration across the Political-Security, Socio-Cultural Blueprints and the environment focus as outlined in the Forging Ahead: ASEAN 2025 document.
We also see this as a crucial need to deal with extra-territorial, intra-regional impacts as trade agreements and business deals are made. While it is commendable that some member states have committed to National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights, the process and content have varied. A Regional Action Plan on BHR is needed to address gaps in human rights protection and access to remedy, particularly in states that have not moved forward on NAPs. A few of us have been consulted on a draft regional strategy, and we have expressed our insistence that such draft should meet and not fall short of international human rights standards. We seek clarification on what the next steps are with respect to this draft.
2. Provide further information on the continuity of dialogues such as this, and clear ways forward, including how the outcomes of this forum will be carried forward in AICHR’s work with governments and other stakeholders.
3. Engage with other regional human rights mechanisms to learn from their experiences including on civil society engagement, and work with CSOs as an integral part of future discussions and action points. As a concrete first step, we would like to work with AICHR in developing a code of conduct that can be used as a guideline for presenters and participants to adhere to within meeting spaces and outside of them and ensure inclusivity, diversity in views, constructive dialogues and debate in an environment of mutual respect. We offer our input in drawing up this code of conduct, including anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to be applied in AICHR organised activities.
Thank you very much and we all hope that you all see this statement as a constructive engagement from CSOs offering cooperation in the context of business and human rights.