THAILAND — Manushya Foundation, the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR, and the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice, co-organised Regional National Baseline Assessment (NBA) Dialogues to discuss the issues related to business and human rights in Thailand and identify challenges, gaps and ways to implement the UNGPs at the domestic level. The two-day dialogues took place in the four regions of Thailand — in Chiang Mai (29 - 30 January 2017), Khon Kaen (23 - 24 February 2017), Hat Yai (20 - 21 March 2017) and Rayong (30 - 31 March 2017) — and brought together communities working on: rights of migrant workers, labour rights (formal and informal workers), trade unions, indigenous peoples, stateless persons, community rights, land-related rights, environmental rights, people with disabilities, LGBTI individuals, sexual and reproductive health, drug users, people living with HIV, sex workers, women’s rights, the protection of human rights defenders, the impact of Thai outbound investments and trade agreements
The NBA Dialogues were part of Manushya Foundation’s strategy to develop an independent CSO NBA ensuring voices and evidence from the ground are captured to inform an evidence-based National Action Plan (NAP). Since the Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) of the Ministry of Justice is the government agency responsible for the development of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Business & Human Rights, Manushya invited RLPD and the UN Global Compact Network Thailand to join forces and collaborate on the NBA Dialogues so they could hear directly from local and affected communities to inform the government's NAP. This secured a bottom-up approach was implemented in the NAP process, as well as provided a safe space for participants, by guaranteeing the protection of local communities and human rights defenders who engaged in Manushya Foundation’s Business & Human Rights strategy.
To ensure communities could effectively share their challenges in the context of business and human rights, as well as provide action-oriented recommendations for the government's NAP, following the framework of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), Manushya Foundation held a CSO preparatory-meeting on Day 1, during which Prabindra Shakya, regional BHR expert and Human Rights Campaign & Policy Advocacy Programme Coordinator at the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), shared knowledge on the UNGPs and the key elements of an NBA and NAP on BHR. The second day of the NBA dialogues allowed for frank discussions to take place between communities, government agencies and the Global Compact Network Thailand, with communities and Manushya Foundation presenting on the following three main areas:
1. Labour Standards: women's rights at the workplace; formal and informal workers; trade unions; migrant workers, human trafficking; negative impact of criminalisation of sex workers; discriminatory practices against LGBTI individuals, people living with HIV, drug users, people with disabilities, religious minorities; and child labour.
2. Community rights, Indigenous Peoples, Land-related rights (land grabbing, SEZs), Natural Resources and Environmental Impacts (negative management of natural resources, impacts of development projects, including Thai outbound investments).
3. The Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
The NBA Dialogues constituted a first step in Manushya Foundation's strategy aiming at empowering local communities to be at the centre of the business and human rights (BHR) discourse in Thailand. Following the NBA Dialogues, Manushya Foundation will further inform its CSO NBA by convening experts meetings to receive experts' inputs and good practices to further develop its independent evidence-based CSO NBA, which would ultimately inform the government's NAP to be released in September 2018.
Check out the report to discover what the real impact of business conduct is on the rights of local communities, and see their recommendations for ensuring both the state and private sector respond to their needs and respect their rights. The report can be accessed here.
Photos for the events can be accessed using the links below: