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Strengthening NHRI capacity on business and human rights

Graphic: Professor Justine Nolan facilitates a business and human rights training session

United Nations Development Programme LogoUnited Nations Development Programme
Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

The APF co-facilitated a training event in Bangkok, Thailand, from 5-6 June, to enhance the knowledge and skills of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in business and human rights, while providing them with an opportunity to share their current practices and challenges with other participants.

With their unique mandate, NHRIs can raise awareness, provide training, advocate with businesses and governments, recommend law reforms, and facilitate access to remedy for business and human rights abuses.

Throughout the event, participants emphasised the crucial role of NHRIs in engaging with business enterprises, particularly in the context of globalization and the significant influence businesses have on the realisation of human rights.

The workshop was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Asia and the Pacific, in association with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the APF.   

Speakers included Professor Justine Nolan from the Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW Sydney, Associate Professor Martijn Boersma from the University of Notre Dame, and Dr Ahmed Shahid, Acting Manager of Capacity Development at the APF.

A total of 15 participants representing eight NHRIs from the region took part in the event, including from the NHRIs of Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Malaysia, and Nepal. The program aimed to equip NHRIs with practical tools to effectively engage with states and business enterprises on the human rights impacts of corporate activities. 

The program concluded with several key takeaways, including the need for a module on working with governments and businesses, the importance of addressing business and human rights issues with cross-border dimensions and the value of developing good practice case studies for NHRIs. 

Also highlighted as potential areas for development included identifying tools and entry points for NHRI engagement, and the potential establishment of a working group on business and human rights for the Asia Pacific region. 

Date: 30 June 2023

Image credits

  1. Professor Justine Nolan facilitates a business and human rights training session - APF