Thailand preparing human rights framework for businesses


Thailand’s government will use an upcoming summit of Southeast Asian leaders in Bangkok to unveil a package of laws designed to ensure human rights in business operations, a move intended to give greater protections to workers.

“Thailand is ready to join hands with ASEAN  (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) governments’ human rights committees to deal with these challenges, especially those associated with transnational investment, the environment and social disparity,” said acting Minister of Justice Wissanu Krea-ngam.

Wissanu was speaking at the “Interregional Dialogue: Sharing Good Practices on Business and Human Rights,” a forum organized by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.

The minister said that the government’s package of laws and regulations would be presented late this month at the ASEAN summit of national leaders in Bangkok. He added that ministries such as Labor, Natural Resources and Environment, Finance, and Justice had amended laws under their purview to integrate the protection and promotion of human rights.

As Thailand underwent rapid development from an agrarian to a highly industrialized economy during the past several decades, the government has been steadily doing more to recognize, codify, and enact those rights and protections. Aside from local laws and regulations, the government has signed ratified several global conventions of the International Labor Organization, or ILO.

The business community, however, has a mixed record, and that is typical of many countries. Most large corporations and businesses abide by laws and high standards regarding workers’ rights and labor conditions.

The package put together by the Thai government is intended to ensure the extension of those rights and protections to all workers in all businesses, and lend the weight of the law to those whose rights are abused or unrecognized.