Business faulted on rights stand

Business faulted on rights stand

Businesses must do more to uphold human rights, a seminar was told.

Civil society groups on Tuesday spoke at a public discussion titled "Civil Society's Agenda for the 2023 Thailand Election" at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC).

Sarinee Achavanuntakul, managing director at Knowledge Development of Sal Forest Co Ltd, said rights violations in the business sector are rising. Thai businesses have invested in neighbouring countries where human rights protections are weak or do not exist at all, she said.

She urged parties to come up with policies to determine the social responsibility of the business sector based on respect for human rights.

"This can help to enhance corporate responsibility, increase transparency and increase the consumers' power to hold businesses accountable, to ensure a level playing field," Ms Sarinee said.

Tara Buakamsri, director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Thailand), said it is unclear if environmental policies will be a selling point for parties.

Without recognising the right to a healthy environment, Mr Tara said human rights and environmental policies could become a tool for greenwashing social inequality.

"Greenpeace believes the kind of politics that contributes to a healthy environment must be built on social justice and an open democracy," he said.

Piyanut Kotsan, director of Amnesty International Thailand, meanwhile, said human rights concern everyone, whether or not they have the right to vote. Thailand has committed itself to key obligations under international treaties concerning human rights.

"This election is not merely a milestone that marks the transition of the administration or the operation of parliament, but is also an indicator which shows us how MPs will use parliamentary mechanisms to ensure the best protection of people's rights and freedoms," she said.

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