NAP Development Process
On the 29 October 2019, Thailand’s cabinet adopted a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and launched it pubicaly on 16 December 2019.
Congratulating Thailand on being 1st in Asia to adopt the NAP on business & human rights! The EU’s been working globally to promote the development & adoption of NAP. We stand ready to support Thailand to turn the plan into concrete actions! pic.twitter.com/b1YKfRu83C
— Pirkka Tapiola (@PirkkaTapiola) October 31, 2019
During its second Universal Periodic Review in May 2016, the Royal Thai Government received a recommendation to develop, enact, and implement a NAP on business and human rights (UPR recommendation 158.49 by Sweden). The Thai government accepted this recommendation.
The Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice, is now leading the NAP process. A NAP National Committee, chaired by the Director-General of the Rights and Liberties Protection Department, Ministry of Justice, and comprising representatives of other Government ministries as well as the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, has the mandate to draft the NAP and oversee its implementation.
As described in the above video, the Rights and Liberties Protection Department has, as of 24 November 2017, done the following to drive forward the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Thailand:
At the national level
1) Established the Committee to Prescribe, Prepare, Monitor and Analyse the Implementation of the NAP (NAP National Committee) (November 2016).
2) Hosted a national dialogue on business and human rights (December 2016).
3) Held regional consultations to understand region-specific contexts of business and human rights on the four regions of Thailand (January – March 2017).
4) Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha officially announced the Royal Thai Government’s Policy on business and human rights and reaffirmed the Thai government’s commitment to implement the UNGPs through a NAP. The Prime Minister further presided over the signing of a “Memorandum of Cooperation to implement the UNGPs in Thailand”. It was signed by the National Human Rights Commission, the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Bankers Association, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Global Computing Network of Thailand (31 May 2017).
At the regional level
The Thai government hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Experts Meeting to exchange knowledge on the preparation of the NAP.
At the international level
The government co-hosted a side event at the 6th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland, to promote the development of the implementation of the UNGPs.
Going forward (according to the above video from November 2017) the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice is planning to undertake the following activities:
1) Conduct further regional consultations as the final preparatory step for the preparation of the NAP,
2) Prepare the NAP and propose it to the cabinet for its approval and endorsement,
3) Disseminate knowledge on the UNGPs to different sectors of the communities on a continuous basis,
4) Ensure that the business and human rights issues are incorporated in the 4th National Human Rights Plan of Thailand.
From 26 March to 4 April 2018, the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights undertook a ten-day country mission to Thailand, where they engaged in an open dialogue with various stakeholders including government, civil society organisations and business on current initiatives, opportunities and challenges to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The UN Working Group was informed that several consultations to seek input and comments on a first draft were being planned. However, they also noted that further efforts would be needed to ensure an inclusive process, for example by making information about the NAP process available on the Ministry’s website, an open call for input and comments, and engagement with a wider group of civil society and business actors.
In addition, the UN Working Group recommended that the NAP places special attention on the third pillar of the UNGPs (access to remedy) and the gender dimensions, and that it links with other relevant initiatives such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In a press release, the UN Working Group also highlighted the need to improve protection of civic space in Thailand, including human rights defenders. They also welcomed the openness of the Thai Government to discuss remaining challenges and to see how these could be tackled and addressed in the NAP.
At the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights interregional dialogue: Sharing Good Practices on Business and Human Rights on 4-6 June 2018, the Thai Government announced that the key priority issues in the NAP of Thailand will be:
2) Land, environment and natural resources,
3) Human rights defenders, and
4) Cross border investment and multi-national enterprises.
The first NAP draft was released in June 2018. A revised NAP draft was released in August 2018 (Video in Thai on Facebook: Official statement of the Thai BHR Network on the Draft NAP on BHR).
Several CSOs (civil society organisations) started raising concerns in August 2018 as they felt that they were not being given the opportunity to comment on the draft NAP, which was initially scheduled to be released on September 7, 2018.
In December 2018, the Ministry of Justice of Thailand presented the latest version of the NAP to Civil Society Organisations to collect more inputs.
The Ministry of Justice collaborated with civil society organisations on the development of a national baseline assessment to identify main gaps and priority areas for action.
The Thai BHR Network held six consultations with the government between January 2017 and March 2018 where local communities shared their recommendations on the NAP.
However, several CSOs claimed at a press conference hosted by Manushya Foundation in Bangkok on 23 August 2018 that they have been left out of the NAP drafting process.
Civil society organisations also sent an open letter to the Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) about their concerns regarding the draft NAP.
In December 2018, the Ministry of Justice of Thailand presented the latest version of the NAP to Civil Society Organisations to collect more inputs and circulated a final draft of the NAP (in Thai) in February 2019 for public comment.
In March 2019, Manushya Foundation and the Thai BHR Network, submitted their Joint Comments to the Final Draft National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights (BHR) calling on the Royal Thai Government (RTG) to ensure the effective regulation of corporate activity is inclusive of communities voices’ affected by the adverse impacts of business conducts and operations with a reflection of all their challenges and recommendations.
National Baseline Assessment (NBA)
In September 2017, experts from the Thai Business & Human Rights Network met to initiate the development of a National Baseline Assessment, under the supervision of the NGO, Manushya Foundation. Modeled after the DIHR/ICAR template, the NBA will be used by the Ministry of Justice in the process to develop a National Action Plan.
The NBA development process involved four sub-regional dialogues organised by the Manushya Foundation, the Rights and Liberties Protection Department and Ministry of Justice, from January to March 2017. Capacity-building workshops on the UNGPs were conducted from May to June 2017. The participation and inclusion of the most at-risk and marginalized communities in the context of business and human rights were considered, and the following stakeholders were engaged: indigenous peoples, environmental human rights defenders, migrant workers, formal and informal labour workers, LGBTI activities, persons living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, persons with disabilities and the elderly.
As of June 2019, the Manushya Foundation has published the thematic chapters of the independent CSO NBA on Business and Human Rights in Thailand.