Asian governments should initiate comprehensive National Action Plans (NAP) for the effective implementation of human rights, the 16th Asian Region Business and Human Rights Forum urged yesterday.
Speaking at the concluding session, representatives from business, civil societies and international forums said studies in recent years have found at least 27 Asian countries need to work more effectively on the issue of human rights so that there could be significant improvement in their economic growth
and sustainable development.
Viraf Mehta, of National Human Rights and Business Resource Group; Michelle Staggs, of Human Rights Reserve Centre; Miwa Yamada, of IDE; and Rosei Zhang of Myanmar Centre for Responsible Businesses, were the panellists.
The speakers stressed that human rights and economic development are closely linked to each other. As those championing human rights, they claimed they have no intentions to overrule government decisions but are only pointing out the shortcomings in the systems where rights are not completely
guaranteed to citizens.
They said though some of the Asian countries have relatively good standards in protecting human rights, lack of political will and initiative, and weakness in governance are preventing many countries from initiating effective and proper national action plans which are necessary for the implementation of better
human rights in their territories.
While calling upon the necessity of better awareness programmes on human rights in 27 countries, the representatives said their forums are ready to partner with local
organisations to work on this issue.
Zhang said there is greater necessity of incorporating human rights in the national development goals in some of the underdeveloped countries of the Asean region as such initiatives would eventually contribute to overcome their image as ‘underdeveloped, low-wage countries and cheap labour destinations’.
Yamada focused on the importance of giving better access to the legal system for the underprivileged, marginalised and suppressed sections of every society. It would help reduce significantly the usual complaints against legal systems in countries having unimpressive
human rights record.
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