Business & Human Rights

This two-day Conference "AICHR Seminar on Promoting CSR and Human Rights" is a follow-up meeting to a workshop held in Singapore on June 2014 to discuss the Baseline Study on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and human rights. This conference is on 3 - 4 Nov 2016 by AICHR-Singapore, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and ASEAN CSR Network (ACN). It was held in Singapore and was attended by more than 130 participants from ASEAN countries and beyond, this included government officials, national human rights instituitions, businesses, civil society, trade unions and academia.

This conference aims to:-

(a) provide a platform for key stakeholders to discuss and kick-start follow-up actions to the Baseline Study’s recommendations;
(b) increase businesses’ awareness in CSR and its benefits;
(c) promote the practice of CSR, particularly with reference to human rights; and encourage the governments of ASEAN Member States (AMS) to take leadership in enabling businesses to implement and embed CSR values throughout their organisations.

As ASEAN pushes on with its integration efforts, there is a need to ensure that standards in CSR are observed and promoted. On one hand, businesses operating in ASEAN are increasingly faced with expectations to take responsibility for the effects of their activities on environmental and social well-being. On the other hand, there is still a large gap in terms of CSR knowledge and practice. It is therefore essential to increase awareness and education on CSR-related issues, with particular regard to key sectors and groups, such as ASEAN’s developing countries, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Opening Remarks were made by H.E. Ambassador Barry Desker - Representative of Singapore to AICHR while the Guest of Honor was Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources & Ministry of Health




H.E. Ambassador Barry Desker                                       Dr Amy Khor

This was followed by topics such as CSR from the Singapore perspective and the importance of a regional strategy, CSR as an Enabler for Human Rights in ASEAN post-2015, Updates on the Status of CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN and Delving into the Components of a Regional Strategy.

H.E. Mr Phoukhong Sisoulath- Representative of Lao PDR to AICHR H.E. Ambassador Francisco Fontan Pardo - EU Ambassador to ASEAN H.E. Ambassador Håkan Jevrell - Ambassador of Sweden to Singapore  Mr Phil Matsheza - UNDP Head of Governance and Peachbuilding Cluster

  

H.E. Ambassador Barry Desker - Representative of Singapore to AICHR and Ambassador Ong Keng Yong - Executive Deputy Chairman, RSIS

   

Panel Discussion: Dr Harkristuti Harkrisnowo - Acting Executive Director, Human Rights Resource Centre, Dr Seree Nonthasoot - Representative of Thailand to AICHR, Ms Polyne Hean - Representative of Cambodia to AICHR, Ms Elaine Tan – Executive Director, ASEAN Foundation and Mr Thomas Thomas - CEO, ASEAN CSR Network

Mr Dante Pesce - Chair, United Nations Working Group on Business & Human Rights and Dr Shashi Jayakumar –Alternate Representative of Singapore to AICHR

The event was followed by concurrent workshops "Expectations of governments' roles in promoting CSR and Human Rights" and "Expectations of the private sector on CSR and Human Rights". These sessions aim to draw out ideas from the participants on the respective roles in promoting and protecting CSR and Human Rights.

   

Workshops

The outcome was draft document on an ASEAN Regional Strategy for CSR and Human Rights. This document will be submitted to AICHR for consideration. It is hoped that this strategy will pave the way for a joint effort across the region, and across sectors, to mainstream CSR and strengthen human rights in business practices in ASEAN.

For more information on our efforts relating to Business & Human Rights, please refer to here.