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Thailand: Gov't releases final draft of NAP on business & human rights & opens it to public comments

In early 2017, the government of Thailand began a series of consultations in relation to the development of a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights.  The process was spearheaded by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) of the Ministry of Justice.

The first NAP draft and the revised NAP draft were released in June and August 2018 respectively. However, several groups raised concerns because many voices are being deprived of the opportunity to comment on the draft NAP scheduled to be released on September 7, 2018.

On 15 February 2019, the government released the final draft and this is open for public comments until 15 March 2019. The Thai version of the NAP on Business and Human Rights is linked below. 

On 15 March 2019, a coalition of grassroots organisations, human rights defenders (HRDs), academics and experts, submitted their Joint Comments to the NAP. The document is available below.

This development will be monitored closely in this story.

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Article
13 July 2019

Comments on the Final Draft National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights (BHR) in Thailand

Author: Manushya Foundation & Thai BHR Network

15 March 2019

...Manushya Foundation and the Thai BHR Network, a coalition of grassroots organisations, human rights defenders (HRDs), academics and experts, submitted their Joint Comments to the Final Draft National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights (BHR) calling on the Royal Thai Government (RTG) to ensure the effective regulation of corporate activity through a strong National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights (BHR), that is inclusive of communities voices’ affected by the adverse impacts of business conducts and operations with a reflection of all their challenges and recommendations.

The Joint Comments suggest changes in the wording of the draft NAP on BHR and propose additional challenges and actions to the publicly available draft of the NAP on BHR open for public comments....

...Manushya Foundation and the Thai BHR Network...still remain disappointed with certain aspects on the content and process for finalisation of the NAP on BHR....

Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) on the ground, the NAP on BHR must result in the production and promotion of a strategy to protect against adverse human rights impacts by business enterprises and to ensure they respect human rights wherever they operate, whether in the country or abroad. [...]

[A PDF file of the Summary of Joint Comment is available below]

Read the full post here

Download the full document here

Article
7 July 2019

Thailand: Groups fear that Thai NAP won't impose binding obligations for companies

Author: Pravit Rojanaphruk, Khaosod English

"National Action Plan for Human Rights and Businesses won't be mandatory," 29 June 2019

Thailand is working on a National Action Plan to encourage the private sector to respect human rights  – but critics fear it won’t be effective if it’s not legally binding. 

Businesses will have no legal obligation to implement the plan, which is akin to a set of voluntary good practice guidelines, warned Emilie Pradichit, the director of the Manushya Foundation...

Another limiting factor on the NAP’s potential impact is that the Justice Minister will adopt it on a ministerial level, meaning the guidelines will not apply to other ministries and departments. 

Caretaker human rights commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit hopes the NAP will eventually be adopted at the cabinet level, but said it is better to have guidelines than nothing. 

Several activists and community leaders aired specific grievances about the private sector’s treatment of human rights issues...

Katima Leeja, an ethnic Lisu and member of the Indigenous Women Network of Thailand similarly warned that several land rights activists face legal threats as they try to defend against business encroachment.

...Sirisak Chaited, an activist for sex workers’ rights, said the action plan should do away with the Protection and Prevention of Prostitution Act. 

 

Read the full post here

Article
7 July 2019

Thailand: Thai BHR Network calls on govt to release an effective, inclusive, & implementable NAP

Author: Manushya Foundation & Thai BHR Network

"Thailand: National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP-BHR) must regulate corporate activity to guarantee business respect human rights, including for Thai companies operating abroad", 27 June 2019

...Manushya Foundation and the Thai BHR Network held a press conference ‘Peoples over Profit’, calling on the Royal Thai Government to ensure effective regulation of corporate activity through a strong National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, which is inclusive of the concerns of the communities affected by adverse impacts of businesses andreflective of all their challenges and recommendations in their Plan, prior to the adoption of the NAP-BHR by the Minister of Justice in July 2019. For implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) on the ground, the National Action Plan (NAP) must result in protection and respect of human rights in business contexts in Thailand as well as when Thai companies are operating abroad.

...[T]he...commentary highlights the deficiencies of the draft NAP-BHR as it fails to recognise the critical need for mandatory measures to hold Thai businesses accountable for the adverse impact of their activities wherever they operate...

With consideration to many drawbacks in the process and content of the final draft NAP, Manushya and the Thai BHR Network strongly urged the Thai government to make necessary amendments in line with their comments and ensure formulation of an effective and inclusive policy document through detailed, time bound actions and with inclusion of affected communities representatives in the NAP Committee. 

“We see this policy document as a starting point to achieve corporate accountability, ensure responsible
business conduct and promote a Thai economy that is sustainable and respectful of human rights,” concludes Emilie Pradichit, Founder & Director, Manushya Foundation.

Read the full post here

Download the full document here

Article
17 February 2019

Open for Public Comments until 15 March 2019: Thailand National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

Note from Business & Human Rights Resource Centre:  The final draft of Thailand's National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights is linked below. The public is invited to send its comments to the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice.

Comments may be sent online.

Read the full post here

Article
2 September 2018

Thai Business & Human Rights Network demands effective consultations in NAP process

Author: Thai Business & Human Rights Network

"Thailand: Call on the Government to be sincere and transparent in the drafting process of the National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights: With respect to process and content," 23 August 2018

We, the Thai Business and Human Rights Network, express our serious concern about the lack of sincerity and transparency displayed by the Thai authorities in the drafting process of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights...

...[T]wo successive NAP drafts from the government ignored affected communities, disregarded their key areas of concern, and simply reproduced recommendations claiming they were actions that would aid in the realization of human rights...

We thus call on the Thai government particularly the Ministry of Justice, which is leading the NAP drafting process, to take the following steps in order to guarantee full and effective participation in the process and the drafting of a credible NAP:

  • Ensure information of consultations, particularly the drafts of the NAP, are circulated widely and well in advance so that the concerned communities and civil society groups can provide comments and meaningfully participate in the drafting process.
  • Include representation of the concerned communities and civil society groups in the NAP drafting committee, so as to secure sincere participation and transparency in the process.
  • Undertake additional regional consultations with meaningful engagement of all relevant stakeholders on successive draft NAPs developed, to ensure the formulation of a NAP that addresses all relevant concerns and adopts concrete actions with respect to the actual situation on the ground.

---

Note: The Thai version of this statement is here

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Article
27 August 2018

(Video in Thai) Official statement of the Thai BHR Network on the Draft NAP on BHR

Author: Thai BHR Network

Posted on 23 August 2018 at the Manushya Foundation Facebook page

 

 

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Article
27 August 2018

Open Letter: Concerns regarding the Draft National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights

Author: Various CSOs

To: The Director General of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, Ministry of Justice, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) and United Nations Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (UNOCHCHR)

Civil society had high hopes for the visit to Thailand by members of the UN Working Group (UNWG) on business and human rights...We welcomed this first official visit to "examine efforts to prevent, mitigate and remedy adverse human rights impacts of business operations." ...

...[T]he UNWG pointed out that both the Government and Thai businesses should regard Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Human Rights Defenders as “critical partners” and engage with them constructively to prevent, mitigate and remedy adverse human rights impacts. Therefore it is extremely disappointing to find the draft National Action Plan (NAP) is seriously lacking in both content and due process.

The...government was due to submit a draft of the NAP to CSOs before the National Consultation Workshop “The Roles of Civil Society Organizations in Drafting the National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights” scheduled for the 23rd August 2018. However, the draft did not reach CSO’s until early morning on the 22 August, less than 24 hours before the consultation...Failing to submit the draft in a timely manner means the Consultation cannot be meaningful and is waste of time and resources for all involved. The manner in which the consultation on the draft NAP has been managed shows a lack of respect for CSO’s, and brings into question the government’s sincerity and commitment to upholding the UN standards of Business and Human Rights.

...We urge the government to redraft the NAP ensuring it reflects the issues raised by the Thai people and the UNWG; reschedule the National Consultation Workshop for a date after CSOs have received the new draft and we have had reasonable amount of time to prepare our analysis and critique.

Download the full document here

Article
25 August 2018

Thailand: Groups urge govt to include all stakeholders in drafting the NAP on business & human rights

Author: Pratch Rujivanarom, The Nation

"Activists ignored in the drafting of rights plan," 24 August 2018

The government is being urged to include all stakeholders and every group affected by human rights violations by the business sector, as it works on a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights.

Human rights defenders and local activists...revealed at a press conference...that their voices had been left out of the first draft of the plan.

The action plan will act as a set of core guidelines, setting out good practices for the authorities and the business sector to follow. Properly done, it will also offer a formal protection tool for local residents in Thailand and elsewhere against human rights violations by business operations.

That makes the successful development of the NAP a very big and important task, said Nattaporn Artharn, Manushya Foundation’s coordinator and a local human rights defender...

But the experience of CSOs so far with the RLPD’s approach to the NAP development process has caused concern in the sector. The people most affected from the business operations and development projects of Thai investors did not have a chance to raise their comments and opinions through this important process, said Nattaporn.

She urged the Justice Ministry and RLPD to respect the voices of these victims of human rights violations, and to include them on the development of the action plan so as to ensure that the drafting process will be transparent and just for all stakeholders.

The press conference included 16 nationwide representatives of victims groups who have experienced human rights violations...

Katima, a representative of the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand, said ethnic minorities are among the people, who have most suffered due to bad business operations, but they have been left out of the NAP drafting process...

 

Read the full post here