Statement and Press release
The need to protect human rights in the agribusiness sector
The 65 participants of this workshop drawn from the South East Asian National Human Rights Institutions Forum (SEANF) and from supportive civil society organisations, including from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand met in Yangon, Myanmar between the 4th and 6th November 2014, to consider ways of ensuring State and Non-State actors respect, protect and remedy human rights in the agribusiness sector. The meeting was convened by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC), with the support of the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), RECOFTC-The Center for People and Forests and the Rights and Resources Initiative.
Human rights, environmental and development NGOs from the region noted increasing number of complaints about human rights violations and environmental impacts linked to transnational investment, migrant labour and human trafficking. Participants also noted that government policies to generate foreign exchange, foreign investment, agro-fuels and commodity exports, while designed to stimulate national development, were imposing heavy costs on communities in terms of land grabs, forced eviction, loss of livelihoods, lack of local and national food security, and environmental degradation and erosion of biodiversity.