Corporate Accountability & Climate Justice
Business & Human Rights is one of the most rapidly emerging areas for concern in Thailand, and at Manushya Foundation we are committed to put 'Peoples over Profit' and ensure communities are front and centre in any Business & Human Rights initiatives.
After the Thai Government received, during its second Universal Periodic Review, a recommendation from Sweden to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business & Human Rights (BHR) with the view to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), Manushya Foundation developed a strategy aiming at empowering communities to be at the center of the BHR response in Thailand, by guaranteeing their central role throughout the NAP process. To this end, since the beginning of 2017, we have reached out to local communities, national and regional experts on BHR to:
1. Develop a National Baseline Assessment (NBA) on BHR, with communities’ challenges, needs and solutions put at the centre of the assessment;
2. Empower communities to conduct evidence-based research, and together with Thai academics, document BHR issues they face; and
3. Empower grassroots to tip the balance of power between businesses and governments versus CSOs, and encourage more bottom-up approaches which view CSOs as equal partners. For that purpose, in addition to building capacities on BHR knowledge, we also provide sub-grants to establish and sustain a national network on BHR comprising communities, academics and experts, called the “Thai BHR Network”.
Read more about our Business & Human Rights strategy here.
Download our Timeline of Events on the Thai BHR NAP process to find out more about our BHR story, role and process:
OUR ROLE IN BUSINESS & HUMAN RIGHTS IN THAILAND
At Manushya Foundation, we strongly believe in the importance of collaboration and cooperation to further human rights and social justice and recognise the importance of approaching our work in a constructive manner to ensure the greatest positive change for the communities we serve. However, while we work with any and all willing partners to advance these causes, Manushya Foundation is a completely independent human rights organisation. Our willingness to work with 'champions' to create a fairer, more equitable world is based solely on the needs of communities, with the singular purpose of ensuring no individual or group is the victim of human rights abuses caused by business conducts. Our approach lies on the empowerment of invisible and marginalised communities, sharing knowledge with them so they can assert their rights, facilitating their meaningful engagement in the NAP process so they can become ‘agents of change’ providing solutions to improve their livelihoods.
Working with the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice in Thailand is a crucial element of achieving this. However, we see a key difference between working with and working for. For us, collaboration and critique are inseparable partners, and while we are enthusiastic to cooperate, we do so with our driving force of community empowerment at its core. This means that when we work with others, the working relationship has to be based on mutual respect for each other, ideally safeguarded by applying a bottom-up approach and not a top-down one. Our primary motivation and guiding principles are the needs of communities, not the needs of those we are collaborating with. So while we believe the value of strong relationships with those in power cannot be denied as essential tools in the fight for human rights, we will not develop and maintain such relationships based on anything other than achieving the goals of the communities we serve, and we will not and have not ever shied away from being strong, critical voices against those we are working with when necessary to advance the needs of communities. Our independence is crucial to us and is what enables us to effectively tackle rights violations and inequality in Thailand.