Singapore, 4 November 2016—On 3-4 November 2016, the AICHR successfully held a seminar on Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Human Rights in ASEAN in Singapore. The seminar was a follow-up to AICHR’s Baseline Study on the aforementioned topic. It was co-organised by AICHR-Singapore and the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN), while the Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (READI) Human Rights Facility and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided kind support in holding the seminar.
The seminar brought together representatives from government, national human rights institutions, business, civil society, trade unions, and academia from across ASEAN and outside the region. It explored the roles of governments, businesses, trade unions and civil society organisations (CSOs) in promoting CSR, as well as possible elements of a regional strategy on CSR and human rights in ASEAN, a recommendation of the Baseline Study. Such a regional strategy would support the fulfilment of the aspirations of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, which calls for building upon and deepening the integration process to realise a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community.
Dr. Amy Khor, Singapore Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and Ministry of Health, was the Guest-of-Honour. Dr Khor delivered a presentation on “The Nexus between CSR and Human Rights,” emphasizing how economic growth and a clean environment could be pursued hand-in-hand to achieve sustainable development.
H.E. Amb. Ong Keng Yong, Chairperson of the Governing Board, HRRC, delivered a keynote speech on “The Way Forward for CSR and Human Rights in ASEAN.” The seminar also saw the sharing of best practices and experiences from international and regional speakers including Swedish Ambassador for CSR Diana Madunic and member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights Dante Pesce.
Prof. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, Acting Executive Director of HRRC, presented HRRC’s research findings on business and human rights, both in the scope of ASEAN and Indonesia. She highlighted the importance of strengthening the regional system to disseminate, embed, and implement the UN Framework and Guiding Principles into business activities. She also encouraged assistance to less developed ASEAN states and widening the scope of actors involved in addressing human rights issues in the region.