THE United Nations Working Group on business and human rights will undertake its first official visit to Thailand from next week to examine efforts to prevent, mitigate and remedy 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, ahead of the visit from March 26 to April 4. “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 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 government, will hold meetings in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Samut Sakhon.
At the end of their mission, on April 4, the experts will hold a press conference to share with the media preliminary observations from their visit at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok.
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.