Yangon Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness 2014: FPP Press Room

Yangon Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness 2014: FPP Press Room

Regional dialogue pushes for rights-based reform of the agribusiness sector in Southeast Asia

National Human Rights Commissions of ASEAN countries and concerned civil society organisations from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao PDR will congregate for a 3 day conference to assess progress made since the Bali Declaration of 2011 in securing human rights and resolving land conflicts in the growing agribusiness sector and transnational investments. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, formed in 2011, is the host of this landmark regional event, in which legal and policy reforms underway in the region will be examined and strategies developed to ensure that indigenous peoples and local communities’ rights are secured, respected and protected by States and the private sector in agribusiness operations.
WHAT: Yangon Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia
WHO: Speakers, who can also conduct interviews by phone, include:

•    Marcus Colchester, Forest Peoples Programme (United Kingdom)
•    Tint Lwin Thaung/ Maung Maung Than, RECOFTC (Thailand, Myanmar)
•    Daw Than Nwe, National Human Rights Commission of Myanmar
•    Devasish Roy, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (Bangladesh)
•    Sandra Moniaga, National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia
•    Dato' Dr Aishah Bidin, National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia
•    Jesus Torres, National Human Rights Commission of the Philippines
•    Nirun Pithakwatchara, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
•    Martua Sirait, Samdhana Institute (Indonesia)
•    Harjinder Kler, HUTAN (Malaysia)
•    Marivic Bero, Coalition Against Land Grabbing (Philippines)
•    Gam Shimray, Indigenous Peoples Forum (Thailand)

The event—the Yangon Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia—is hosted by the National Human Rights Commission of Myanmar and organised by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests.

Where: Kandawgyi Palace, Yangon, Myanmar

When: 4-6 November 2014, press conference on 6 November from 12:30 to 13:30

Why: To assess developments and impacts of agribusiness expansion on human rights in Southeast Asia, and the existing and further efforts required from National Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society Organisations at the local, national, regional and international levels to ensure that rights are protected and international human rights law respected.

The conference will address the following questions:

  • What legal and policy reform processes are underway that provide the potential to better secure community rights to land, resources and self-determined livelihoods?
  • How can National Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society Organisations push for better regulation of agribusinesses and transnational investments in Southeast Asia so they respect human rights and prevent unjust land acquisitions?
  • How can efforts to raise awareness among ASEAN countries’ governments and civil society actors of the need for tenure reforms to secure community rights and counter large-scale land acquisition and forest destruction, be enhanced?
  • What lessons have been learned from conflict resolution processes towards securing access to remedy and justice, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights?

For more details, to attend or to arrange media interviews, please contact Sophie Chao at +62 812-9516-5111 or sophie@forestpeoples.org

RECOFTC Press contacts:
Ms. Caroline Liou, Communication Manager, RECOFTC (Thailand), +66 (0)86 067 3228, caroline.liou@recoftc.org (English)

Mr. Zaw Win, Communication Officer, RECOFTC (Myanmar), +95(1) 644187, zaw.win@recoftc.org (Myanmar language)

About FPP: FPP works with forest peoples in South America, Africa, and Asia, to help them secure their rights, build up their own organisations and negotiate with governments and companies as to how economic development and conservation are best achieved on their lands. FPP has also done extensive work in Southeast Asia on legal pluralism and the opportunities and challenges experienced by indigenous peoples and local communities as a result of plural legal regimes. In addition, FPP is engaged in research, advocacy and fieldwork related to oil palm expansion in Southeast Asia and its socio-cultural, economic and environmental impacts. For more information please visit www.forestpeoples.org.

About RECOFTC: RECOFTC is an international organisation with a vision of local communities actively managing forests in Asia and the Pacific to ensure optimal social, economic, and environmental benefits. RECOFTC’s mission is to enhance capacities for stronger rights, improved governance and fairer benefits for local people in sustainable forested landscapes in the Asia and the Pacific region. RECOFTC focuses on four interlinked thematic areas: Securing Community Forestry; Enhancing Livelihoods and Markets; People, Forests and Climate Change; and Transforming Forest Conflicts. For more information please visit www.recoftc.org.

About the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission: The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission was established on 5 September 2011 and restructured in September 2014 with a view to promoting and safeguarding the fundamental rights of the citizens enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The Commission is vested with responsibilities and competence including receiving, investigating and making recommendations on human rights violations, to communication with UN organisations, and to provide leadership and assistance in the activities on enhancing the public awareness and knowledge of human rights promotion and protection. For more information please visit http://www.mnhrc.org.mm/en/.

Editor’s Note: To download press materials, visit:
http://www.forestpeoples.org/news/2014/10/yangon-conference-human-right… (Username: presslogin;  Password: yangon2014$)

Related reports:

  1. Current status of Social Forestry in climate change adaptation and mitigation in ASEAN region: http://www.recoftc.org/research-papers/current-status-social-forestry-c…
  2. Community forestry in Asia and the Pacific: Pathway to inclusive development: http://www.recoftc.org/research-papers/community-forestry-asia-and-paci…
  3. Mediating forest conflicts in Southeast Asia: Getting the positives out of conflicts over forests and land: http://www.recoftc.org/issue-papers/mediating-forest-conflicts-southeas…