Business and Human Rights
Today, global business enterprises are causing serious human rights violations in the course of their business in developing countries, such as labour rights violations and exploitation, deprivation of land rights and indigenous people’s rights, environmental contamination causing devastating impacts for people’s rights to health and livelihood, and so on.
HRN calls on multinational corporations to respect human rights in the course of their business in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In cooperation with local NGOs, HRN carries out investigations on human rights violations related to corporate activities in Asia, including Japan, China, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. We also have dialogues and consultations with the relevant business sectors in order for them to maximize their influence to respect and ensure fundamental human rights for people related to their businesses.
Myanmar ~ Business and Human Rights
In 2017, HRN conducted a fact-finding mission pertaining to the child labour situation in the Myanmar fishing industry. The investigation culminated in the publication of a detailed report that uncovered abject working conditions and the use of child labour in the fishing sector in Myanmar. HRN remains concerned about the lack of adequate regulation and enforcement by the Myanmar government, as well as the responsibilities of foreign states and companies engaged in business with the Myanmar fishing sector. On 17 October 2018, HRN launched the report at a seminar in Yangon, Myanmar. The seminar also featured a presentation by the Myanmar Centre for Business and Human Rights, and was attended by various stakeholders including representatives from local NGOs working on child rights, trade unions and the EU Delegation. HRN is currently looking to collaborate with local NGOs in Myanmar to potentially broaden the scope of any future investigation and report.
China ~ Business and Human Rights
In 2014, HRN conducted an undercover investigation into the supplier factories of Fast Retailing (FR), a Japanese major apparel company renowned globally for its brand name UNIQLO. The investigation was part of a joint project with a Hong-Kong based labour NGO to examine whether the human rights of the factory workers were being protected. Together with partner NGOs, HRN published an investigative report describing the details of exploitative labour conditions in two supplier factories, as well as carried out campaigns for the protection of human rights in global supply chains and the improvement of working conditions in Asian garment factories, all of which attracted much attention. FR acknowledged several facts pointed out in our report and published an action plan to improve the situation. HRN is currently engaged in a process of dialogue with FR to help bring forth positive changes on the matter.