Commentary: Can Asia (and the UN) hold corporations accountable?

Author: Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific, The Diplomat, Published on: 17 October 2018

[This month] at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, over 100 countries are negotiating a powerful new treaty that aims to create a binding instrument to hold transnational companies accountable for violations of human and environmental rights...

A recent study by Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific shows that while a number of Asian countries are supportive of the UN binding treaty on corporation crimes, many are failing to actively engage in the process or listen to the needs and demands of people impacted.

Governments must do more as across Asia people’s rights are being violated [as seen with:]

- ...the World Heritage Sundarbans mangrove forest [in Bangladesh that]...is threatened by the Rampal coal power plant...

- The Orang Asli indigenous community, of the Temiar tribe in Ulu Kelantan, Malaysia, [that] is...defending its customary lands from logging, plantation, and mining...But the companies are becoming more aggressive, bringing weapons, intimidating protesters, and destroying the blockades...

- A large-scale $152 million public-private sugarcane project...in Dehigama-Rideemaliyadda, Sri Lanka [where]...the local communities are not prepared to lose their rights to farmlands, forests, and water...

People across Asia are demanding binding rules to hold big business accountable and will make their voices heard at the United Nations.

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