A landmark declaration in 2010 brought human rights abuses by business activities into the spotlight. Since 2017, we have seen significant advances in legislating requirements for human rights due diligence in key markets, and in 2018 negotiations began on a possible Binding Treaty on business and human rights.
7th Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in South East Asia issues resolution calling for change in land tenure recognition and security.
“For indigenous peoples, the environment is inextricably linked to every aspect of their lives and survival. They are the pillars of sound environmental governance.” – with these words Tan Sri Razali Ismail, from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKUM), welcomed participants to the 6th Southeast Asian Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness.
4 November, Kota Kinabalu: After a week of field investigations and searching discussions, the 6th Southeast Asian Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness issued a resolution calling for moratoriums to halt the further hand out of concessions throughout the region. The meeting noted how land conflicts as a result of agribusiness expansion are proliferating and urged a pause in the hand out of licenses while community and indigenous peoples’ land rights are secured.
Concerned human rights groups meet at the 5th Regional Meeting on Human Rights and Agribusiness in South East Asia
The raging forest fires in Indonesia and numerous extrajudicial killings related to agribusiness land grabs throughout South East Asia have made headlines all over the world. These shocking violations of peoples’ fundamental human rights have compelled concerned human rights groups to come together at the 5th Regional Meeting on Human Rights and Agribusiness in South East Asia during the 5th and the 6th of November 2015 in Puerto Princesa, on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.
Puerto Princesa: 11th November 2015 - A recent fact-finding mission by regional human rights groups in the south-western island of Palawan, the last ecological frontier of the Philippines, has revealed a pattern of land grabs and forest destruction by palm oil companies, partly owned by Malaysian and Singaporean investors.
A regional network of Asian human rights commissions and supportive NGOs has issued a strong statement supporting calls for a moratorium on palm oil expansion in the Philippines southern island of Palawan. The call came at the conclusion of a week of fact-finding trips and discussions of the 5th South East Asian Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness which was hosted by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, the Coalition on Land Grabbing of the Philippines supported by the Forest Peoples Programme.
On 4 – 6 November, National Human Rights Commissions and civil society organisations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Lao PDR and Myanmar, congregated in Yangon for the Fourth Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia. This year it was hosted by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, co-organised by Forest Peoples Programme and RECOFTC – The Centre for People and Forests, and supported by the Rights and Resources Initiative, Ford Foundation, the Climate and Land Use Alliance, and the UK Department for International Development.
Statement and Press release: The need to protect human rights in the agribusiness sector
Regional dialogue pushes for rights-based reform of the agribusiness sector in Southeast Asia
From 7 – 9 August 2013, representatives from National Human Rights Institutions of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Myanmar and supportive civil society organisations, met in Bangkok to assess developments in the agribusiness sector and human rights since the Bali Declaration on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia in 2011 and the Phnom Penh Workshop on Human Rights and Agribusiness in 2012, and to develop an action plan for the effective enforcement of human rights by State parties in the agribusiness sector. The meeting was convened by the Thai National Human Rights Commission, with the support of the Forest Peoples Programme and the Rights and Resources Initiative.
The principle that the enjoyment of human rights is both the means and the goal of development, highlights the importance of human rights monitoring as a means for empowering rights-holders to exercise their rights, whilst holding States and other actors accountable for their human rights obligations.
The 64 participants of this workshop drawn from South East Asian National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Myanmar and from supportive civil society organisations from these countries as well as Cambodia, met in Bangkok between the 7th and 9th August 2013, to develop an action plan for the effective observance of human rights in the agribusiness sector. The meeting was convened by the Thai Human Rights Commission, with the support of the Forest Peoples Programme and the Rights and Resources Initiative.
12th – 13th March 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Free, Prior and Informed Consent as an expression of right to self-determination of indigenous peoples
Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the palm oil sector in Southeast Asia
On 9 – 11 October 2012, Forest Peoples Programme and Sawit Watch, with the support of Cambodian NGO Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) co-organised a workshop, ‘Making the Bali Declaration Effective: The Phnom Penh Workshop on Human Rights and Agribusiness’, as a follow-up event to the Bali Workshop on Human Rights and Agribusiness of 2011. Hosted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the workshop was attended by National Human Rights Commissioners from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, South Korea and Timor-Leste, the Indonesian representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), concerned Southeast Asian NGOs and the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food and on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Concluding a three day meeting in Phnom Penh convened by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission, with the support of Forest Peoples Programme, SawitWatch and the Community Legal Education Center of Cambodia, South East Asian Human Rights Commissions called for action to protect communities and indigenous peoples from the expansion of agribusiness.
Indigenous Peoples representing 15 organizations from six ASEAN countries and other support organizations under the banner of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force on ASEAN (IPTF-ASEAN) have expressed their disappointment and condemnation for not allowing them to hold a workshop to discuss Indigenous Peoples rights to land, territories and resources and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People at the venue of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Click here to read the Statement of Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities made at the Workshop on Indigenous Peoples & Ethnic Minorities, Friday 30 March 2012, during ACSC/APF 2012, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Constructive dialogue and potential synergies between the National Human Rights Commissions and Institutions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia, reached an important milestone at a four-day workshop in November in Bali, Indonesia. The workshop was convened by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission and organised by Forest Peoples Programme and Indonesian NGO SawitWatch, with the support of the Rights and Resources Initiative, Samdhana Institute and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests.
This landmark workshop on “Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform” was attended by 60 participants, including notable academics, indigenous peoples’ representatives and members of supportive national and international NGOs. An opening statement was made by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, and a presentation was delivered by Raja Devasish Roy, elected Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFPII) and traditional chief of the Chakma circle in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.