The Role of Royal Thai Government on the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)were endorsed in 2011 to set out the duty of the state, the responsibility of the business sector and their respective roles to “protect, respect and remedy” individuals whose human rights have been infringed. The Royal Thai Government has expressed its political will and commitment to drive forward and prepare a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) on many occasions, for example (1) during the special keynote address on the UNGPs and the signing of the Declarationon Cooperation to Drive Forward the UNGPs to ensure that tangible outcomes are achieved (2) the reaffirmation of the Royal Thai Government’s policy to drive forward the UNGPs during the “King’s Philosophy towards Sustainable Development” programme on several occasions (3) the Preparation Meeting for the Announcement of the National Agenda “Human Rights as a Driving Force of Thailand 4.0 towards Sustainable Development” (4) the release of a statement to commemorate the International Human Rights Day on 10th December 2017, whereby the Royal Thai Government displayed its commitment to drive forward the business and human rights issues by naming state-owned enterprises as the pilot group. The Royal Thai Government mandated the Ministry of Justice to be the central agency that is responsible for driving forward the UNGPs. To date, the Ministry of Justice has engaged in the following activities: National Level: Establishment of the NAP National Committee, to disseminate knowledge to different sectors, and Regional consultations to obtain information on the status of business and human rights issues. ASEAN Level: Exchange of knowledge and experiences with fellow ASEAN countries and Building capacity for personnel in the ASEAN to enhance their understanding of the UNGPs and the role of states with respect to the business and human rights issues. International Level: The sharing of Thailand’s experience and achievements with respect to business and human rights at the 6th UN Global Forum on Business and Human Rights, held at the United Nations in Geneva, whereby the participants complimented the Royal Thai Government’s commitment on the business and human rights issues.
Importantly, the Royal Thai Government invited the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights for an official visit to Thailand during 26th March – 4th April 2018. During their visit, the Working Group exchanged views and engaged in discussions with state agencies, state-owned enterprises, and businesses - both in the central region and in other regions of the country. The Working Group also issued a preliminary report on their visit to Thailand where they welcomed the sincere commitments of the Royal Thai Government and agencies in various sectors, recognized Thailand as a leader of the ASEAN in the field of business and human rights, and provided recommendations to facilitate future developments. The Ministry of Justice, by the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, will consider these recommendations during the preparation of the NAP. Once ready, the Ministry will disseminate knowledge about the NAP and produce [practice guides as references for different sectors.] Periodic reviews of the NAP will also be conducted in order to ensure that it remains reflective of the current situation. This article presents the commitment of the Royal Thai Government to comply with the UNGPs and show best practice of Thailand in implementing the UNGPs in a concrete manner, at national, regional and international levels, particularly the development, progress, and process of the first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in ASEAN, with the aim of creating a guarantee that protects people from having their rights infringed, ensures that businesses respect human rights, improves the overall economic status of the country, and steers the human rights situation in Thailand towards a better future in accordance with international standards.
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