By The Nation
The human rights watchdog, Thailand ETOs Watch, discussed the impacts of Thai investment abroad on local communities, the environment and human rights with the head of UN working group, Surya Deva, at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva last week.
The main focus of the discussion was the effects on the environment, society, culture and communities of the Dawei Special Economic Zone development project in Myanmar, Ban Chaung coal mine in Myanmar and Xayaburi Dam in Laos. There were other projects involving Thai investors in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam included in the discussion as well.
From the discussion, three recommendations have been made for all stakeholders to ensure respect for human rights in projects with investments from Thais and people from other countries.
First, it is suggested that destination countries prepare guidelines for Thai investors to make sure that their investments will have good governance, respect human rights and provide proper compensation to mitigate any impacts from the investment.
Second, Thai investors are told to respect the rights of local communities and people, and allow public participation to determine the terms of the investment.
Third, the Thai Justice Ministry should conduct a national operation plan on business and human rights to regulate Thai investment in other countries.
Thailand ETOs Watch leader Sor Rattanamanee Polkla said that the Cabinet had come out with a resolution on controlling human rights violations from transboundary investment in May last year, and this June Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha had just announced the government stance on tackling this issue. However, there still had been no concrete measures from the government to regulate Thai investors so they respect human rights.