7th Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia

7th Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in SEA
7th Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in SEA © Yadi at Link AR

7th Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia

Documents and presentations are now available (in English or Bahasa), from the October 2017 conference in Pontianak, Indonesia, where participants from across South East Asia gathered for the seventh in a series of annual conferences on agribusiness and human rights. The event in 2017 was hosted by the Indonesian human rights commission (Komnas HAM) and civil society organisation, Pusaka in collaboration with Forest Peoples Programme.

Before the conference, delegates visited nearby Olak Olak village to see for themselves the challenges faced by communities in West Kalimantan, due to the rapid expansion of palm oil. Participants continued to examine the human rights violations connected to agribusiness expansion in the local area at the conference itself, as well as evaluating Indonesia’s experience in implementing a moratorium on agribusiness concession issuance.

Delegates from human rights commissions, civil society and indigenous peoples organisations from across the region then assessed the effectiveness of their strategies for pushing for national legal reforms since the Bali Declaration in 2011, and on the final day participants identified strategies and priority actions for advancing work on transboundary concerns related to human rights and agribusiness.

At the end of the conference, participants issued the Pontianak Resolution, including the following recommendations:

  • To overcome current obstacles to secure land tenure by communities: governments should adopt mechanisms accessible to indigenous peoples and local communities to map and register their customary lands. NHRIs should review current laws and practice and recommend reforms. The President of Indonesia should establish effective measures to implement the Constitutional Court decision of 2012 recognising customary forests as being outside State Forest Areas.
  • In order to move to a new business model that does not require communities to surrender their lands to companies: policies and laws should be reviewed; in Indonesia, HGU should not be made mandatory; alternative community-based production models should be encouraged; there should be a moratorium on the hand-out of permits that overlap community lands and; the Government should revoke the permits of companies that violate human rights and legality.
  • To make moratoriums effective, independent audits are needed of violations of human rights and of national policies, remedies must be undertaken by non-compliant entities and their performance reviewed before transparent reports are issued to the public, NHRIs and relevant state bodies.
  • To ensure corporate accountability to achieve conflict resolution, companies should: adopt voluntary standards; adjust their operating procedures accordingly and; ensure grievance mechanisms are open and accessible to workers and communities. Governments should adopt international best practice standards that are consistent with international human rights laws and then monitor company compliance. NHRIs should also monitor performance.
  • To prevent the use of forced and child labour on plantations, governments should: enforce the law effectively; provide education for all estate workers’ children and; monitor the way laws are applied. NHRIs should: train companies in human and workers’ rights; make recommendations to government on needed protections; set up monitoring systems and; collaborate to address the plight of stateless children.
  • To address transboundary and regional human rights concerns, Governments should: through ASEAN give AICHR a stronger mandate to investigate such matters and; recommend AICHR set up an ASEAN Human Rights Tribunal or Court. Governments should not hinder NHRIs in carrying out their work. NHRIs should jointly: carry out transboundary enquiries and; report violations to human rights treaty bodies. The Governments of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam should set up NHRIs.
  • To maintain the impetus of this network, active collaboration should be maintained through: information-sharing; field visits; collaborative reviews and; wider use of the media to share their studies and findings, especially with relevant rights-holders.


Documents and presentations from the conference are available (in English or Bahasa) for download below:


Conference © Yadi at Link AR
Discussion Group
Discussion group © Yadi at Link AR
Culture Share
Culture Share © Yadi at Link AR
Making the Bali Declaration Binding
Making the Bali Declaration Binding © Yadi at Link AR