[Event notice: International Conference] Labor, Environment, and Asian Transnational Corporations: Towards an East Asian Business and Human Rights Movement


2023 / 11 / 25 – 26, Saturday and Sunday

Time|Saturday 9:00 – 17:30, Sunday 10:00 – 14:30 (Taiwan time)

Location|3F, Conference Hall, National Central Library (20 Zhung-Shan S. Rd. Taipei 100201, Taiwan)

Participation|Hybrid. Online participation for overseas participants only.

Language|Languages used at the conference are English and Mandarin. English/Mandarin interpretation will be provided on-site. For overseas participants joining via webinar, there will be English, Mandarin, and Japanese interpretations.

Register here: https://forms.gle/q2HDRfsWxnVkdvzh7


Thanks to globalisation and technology advancement, corporations have become gigantic and powerful. Possessing those invulnerable financial, organisational, technological, political and even ideological instruments, corporations are capable of shaping the world we live in, influencing people’s daily ordinaries. Sometimes, the influences are unfortunately damages brought by exploiting workers and polluting the environment. Especially, under the globalised operation of business, it has become a serious problem that transnational corporations from the global north commit human rights violations in the global south countries.

Since the 1980s, a lot of corporations from Japan, Korea and Taiwan have become transnational and gained significant positions in global supply chains. Compared with making TNCs from western countries to be accountable on human rights issues in global supply chains, it is usually more difficult to deal with Asian transnational corporations (ATNCs) because most of them are not brands who face consumers in end markets directly. In industries with well-developed social audit mechanisms such as garment and electronics, when an East Asian country based supplier commits a human rights violation, victims usually have to rely on the intervention by the brands in western countries to solve the problem even if the supplier is a powerful TNC capable of the remedy itself. As for in basic/upstream industries without well-known brands to the public, ATNCs victims abroad have nearly no means to seek justice commonly.

The incompatibility between ATNCs’ strong power and low accountability makes the legitimacy and necessity of corporations’ home countries to regulate ATNCs’ behaviour overseas. It is crucial to establish the legal framework in the home country that can hold the lead companies accountable for their human rights violation and environmental destruction in their supply chain. Furthermore, the victims in the supply chains of ATNC should be able to access the remedy in the ATNC’s home countries as well. In this conference, we are going to examine the practices of business and human rights (BHR) in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and further explore the possibility of initiating a regional BHR movement leading to the establishment of a legal framework that ensures corporate accountability as well as access to remedy for victims in the supply chains of ATNCs. Mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation will be discussed as a means to accomplish such ends.


Note that times are listed in local Taiwan time.

November 25
Time Session
8:30-9:10 【Registration】
9:10 – 9:30 【Opening】Welcome Remarks: Mab Huang, Professor of Liberal Arts Chair, Soochow University

Ping-Cheng Lo, Minister without Portfolio, Executive Yuan, Taiwan

9:30 – 10:10 【Keynote Speech 1】Global trends on business and human rightsModerator: Jau-hwa Chen, Director of Human Rights Program, Soochow University

Speaker: Pichamon Yeophantong, Head of Research and Associate Professor, Deakin University, and member of UN Working Group on Business and Human rights

10:10 – 10:50 【Keynote Speech 2】 Business and human rights trends in EU and impacts on AsiaModerator: Yi-Chun Chou, Professor of Department of Sociology, Soochow University

Speaker: Antoine Madelin, Director of Advocacy, International Federation for Human Rights

10:50 – 11:10 Break
11:10 – 12:40 【Session 1】: Overseas Human Rights Violations by ATNCs in the Basic IndustriesModerator:

Pei-Chun Lin, Assistant Professor of Human Rights Program, Soochow University


Yu-Yin Chang, Executive Director, Environmental Jurists Association

Yujung Shin, Attorney at Law, KTNC Watch/Jihyang Law

Yuka Kiguchi, Mekong Watch

12:40 – 13:40 Lunch
13:40 – 15:10 【Session 2】: Overseas Human Rights Violations by ATNCs in the Garment IndustryModerator:

Roy Ngerng, East Asia Urgent Appeal Coordinator, Clean Clothes Campaign East Asia Coalition


Ray Cheng, Director, Youth Labor Union 95

Hyung-Phil Na, Director, Korean House for International Solidarity

Kazuko Ito , Lawyer and Vice-President of Board, Human Rights Now

15:10 – 15:30 Break
15:30 – 17:00 【Session 3】: Overseas Human Rights Violations by ATNCs in the Electronics IndustryModerator:

Rochelle Porras, Regional Coordinator (Asia), GoodElectronics


You-Lian Sun, Secretary General, Taiwan Labor Front

Sangsoo Lee, Executive Activist, Supporters for Health And Rights of People in Semiconductor industry

Tomoko Ako, Professor at University of Tokyo and Advisor at Human Rights Now

November 26
Time Session
9:30-10:00 【Registration】
10:00 – 11:30 【Session 4】: Forced Labour in the East Asian Fishing IndustryModerator:

Liang-Jung Lin , Associate Professor, College of Law, National Chengchi University


Yi-Hsiang Shih, Secretary General, Taiwan Association for Human Rights

Jong-Chul Kim, Advocates for Public Interest Law

Kana Kawasaki, Business and Human Rights Project Coordinator and Researcher, Human Rights Now

Cade Mosley, Advocacy Officer, Human Rights Now

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 14:30 【Session 5】: Business and Human Rights Progress in East Asia—From NAP to mHREDD Legislations?Moderator:

Anju Kozono, Japan Researcher and Representative, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre


Hsin-Hsuan Sun, Researcher and Campaigner, Environmental Rights Foundation

Youngah Park, GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation

Ryutaro Ogawa , Human Rights Now

Muriel Treibich, Lobby and Advocacy Coordinator, Clean Clothes Campaign


National Human Rights Commission, Taiwan

Taiwanese Transnational Corporations Watch

Environmental Rights Foundation

Taiwan Association for Human Rights

Environmental Jurists Association

Youth Labor Union 95

Taiwan Labor Front

Taiwan Laborers Association

Korean Transnational Corporations Watch

Human Rights Now

Clean Clothes Campaign East Asia Coalition

Human Rights Program, Soochow University


International Federation for Human Rights, FIDH

Taiwan Bar Association


Taiwan Foundation for Democracy