Business and Human Rights Study in ASEAN

HRRC will conduct a study on business and human rights this year to initially assess the issue and bring it into the framework of ASEAN. The end result expected would be to find best approach to ensure business entities’ compliance of human rights in ASEAN.

As an initial step, HRRC held a breakfast meeting introducing the concept of Business and Human Rights with the guest speaker Professor Christine Kaufmann, a Professor of International, Constitutional and Administrative law at the University of Zurich in Switzerland who was a member of the EFTA (European Free Trade Association), expert groups on financial services and free movement of capital and services and represented the Swiss Central Bank in the negotiations on the European Economic Area.

The meeting was held in Jakarta, at Kempinski Hotel on 24 January 2011, and attended by prominent representatives of multi-national corporation, civil society organization and representative from HRRC.

As a result of the meeting, attendees agree that business and human rights is a complex issues that requires a holistic approach both from business and human rights perspective. In order to ensure company’s compliance of human rights norms, it needs to be strongly linked to the business concept such as value chainrisk, and due diligence. The government must also enforce this concept in form of legal enforcement mechanism that deals with individual rights, namely labor rights, and other economic and social rights.

Experts from many different fields also need to be involved in the study of business and human rights in order to produce a more comprehensive analysis and conclusion on how to better approach this issue as to achieve the target on ensuring corporation’s compliance with human rights norm.