2016 Asia Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights
The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights convened its first UN Asia Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights from 19 to 20 April 2016 in Doha.
About the Forum
Building on the 2014 Africa Forum and 2013 Latin America & Caribbean Forum, the Asia Forum provided an opportunity to speed and scale up awareness and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the region. The two-day event allowed participants to discuss salient issues and identify areas at the national level where accelerated action is needed by States and companies to prevent and address business-related human rights harm.
Given the diversity of issues across the Asia-Pacific region - which spans from Saudi Arabia in West Asia, to Indonesia in Southeast Asia, and China in East Asia - some sessions had a sub-regional, rights-based and/or sectoral focus in order to examine problems and identify solutions in a concrete manner.
The Forum convened representatives of Governments, business, industry associations, civil society organisations, trade unions, indigenous peoples, affected individuals, law firms, investor groups, international and regional bodies, national human rights institutions, academia and the media.
The programme, managed by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and its Secretariat, focused on the three pillars of the Guiding Principles:
- The State duty to protect human rights against business-related impacts;
- The corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and
- The need for effective remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse.
The Regional Forum examined salient issues in the region, such as:
- The rights of migrant workers;
- Impacts of large-scale land acquisitions;
- Garment sector supply chains;
- Forced and child labour and human trafficking;
- Access to remedy through judicial and non-judicial mechanisms;
- Mega sporting events;
- Human rights defenders;
- Rights of women in a business context; and
- Indigenous peoples’ rights.
The Forum discussed the national and regional application of global business and human rights issues, such as national action plans, corporate human rights due diligence, and the role of the State as an economic actor.