Southeast Asian Human Rights Institutions And Civil Society
Southeast Asian Human Rights Institutions And Civil Society Organisations Adopt Montien Resolution On Human Rights and Agribusiness 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.
During the workshop the Montien Resolution on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia was formulated in order to call on all Southeast Asian countries to establish their own independent Human Rights Commissions, in line with international standards, highlighting that Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Laos PDR, Vietnam and Cambodia do not currently have their own Human Rights Commissions. The Resolution reiterates the need for States to develop effective regulatory frameworks which secure communities’ rights to lands, territories and resources and which require agribusinesses to respect such rights in line with international human rights standards, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.
Welcoming efforts by the private sector to eliminate the trade in destructively produced commodities such as palm oil, timber, soy, biofuels and sugar, the Resolution demands full supply chain traceability in which environmental protections are matched with comprehensive protections of human rights. It also emphasises the urgent need to identify and encourage alternative production systems, based on secure rights, so that local communities, indigenous peoples and smallholders can have greater control of production based on diversified land use.
The Resolution also calls for coordinated action by both companies and governments to curb the exploitation of workers, especially migrants, women and children in large-scale plantations, and for governments to make determined efforts to eliminate all forms of forced labour and slavery-like practices from agribusinesses in the region.