GENEVA (22 March 2018) – The United Nations Working Group on business and human rights will undertake its first official visit to Thailand from 26 March to 4 April to examine efforts to prevent, mitigate and remedy adverse human rights impacts of business operations.
“Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia and an important player in sectors such as mining, agriculture, tourism, fisheries, palm oil, telecommunication, electronics, finance and energy,” said Dante Pesce, vice-chairperson of the Working Group.
“We look forward to learn more about ongoing work to develop a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, as part of efforts to ensure that companies operating in Thailand, as well as Thai companies operating abroad, respect human rights.”
The experts will be looking at how the Thai Government and businesses are implementing their respective human rights obligations and responsibilities in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*.
The Guiding Principles, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, offer clarity and guidance for Government authorities and companies on how to prevent and address adverse human rights risks and ensure that victims of business-related human rights abuse have access to effective remedies.
“During our mission to Thailand we will meet with a wide range of stakeholders, including national and provincial government authorities, private and State-owned enterprises, business associations, civil society organisations, the National Human Rights Commission, trade unions, human rights defenders and members of local and indigenous communities,” said Surya Deva, the other member of the Working Group’s visiting delegation.
“We will give particular attention to the situations of individuals and groups that are particularly at risk to business-related human rights abuse,” he added.
The experts, who visit the country at the invitation of the Thai Government, will hold meetings in Bangkok, Songkhla, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Samut Sakhon.
At the end of their mission, on Wednesday 4 April, the experts will hold a press conference at 12:30, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, Bangkok (518/5 Phloen Chit Rd, Khwaeng Lumphini, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand). Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.
Findings from the country visit and recommendations will be included in an official report to be presented to the Human Rights Council.
The Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises was established by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. Its current members are: Mr. Michael Addo, Mr. Surya Deva, Mr. Dante Pesce (current vice chair), Ms.AnitaRamasastry (current Chairperson), and Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga.
The Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent human rights monitoring mechanisms. The Working Groups report to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. The experts are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.