Human Rights and Business

Since 2006, DTP organised and facilitated a regional capacity building program on Human Rights and Business. The courses had a particular focus on the new global policies and frameworks on the human rights responsibilities of business and the challenges of holding corporations accountable for their actions. Processes of globalisation and the growth of transnational corporations had increased the role of the corporation in the lives of individuals and societies. The private sector is a key driver of economic development in the Asia-Pacific region. For many workers, including migrant workers, and for many communities and Indigenous peoples, the actions of corporations have the most immediate impact on their human rights. The extractive industries of mining and forestry have a major impact on the environment and on the traditional livelihoods of communities. 

Extractive industries respond to the hunger of booming manufacturing industries that are drawing millions of workers from rural areas and across borders to work long hours in often unsafe conditions. As governments increasingly contract out key areas of service provision – from prisons, to health-care, and key utilities such as water and electricity – so the role of corporations grows. The need for corporations to understand their responsibilities in relation to human rights, how these responsibilities can be implemented and how companies can be held accountable, have emerged as key issues for the region.  

This course recognises the key role that civil society advocates can play and the particular knowledge and skills that will be most useful to them. It provides an opportunity to exchange experiences, learn from one another and build knowledge and skills to engage effectively with the business community. It develops the capacity of advocates in the Asia-Pacific region to apply new and emerging standards such as the OECD Guidelines on Multi-National Enterprises – as well as Industry Codes of Conduct. It also enables NGOs in the region to play a more active and effective role in the international policy dialogue on these issues.