Commitment of Lawyers to Side with Human Rights Against Corporate Activities

The impact of a former pit at a mining site that left a number of children dead deserves to be traced to the steps of the international court. Another story, east Nusa Tenggara residents get access to an international court following the losses of the oil refinery leak that polluted the Montara block of the Timor Sea.

The example above was presented by Imam Prihandono, a lecturer from the Faculty of Law, Airlangga University in a webinar on the Role of Advocates in Promoting Respect for Human Rights by the Corporation, Friday (07/10/2020).

The discussion took a business and human rights approach organized by THE DPC Peradi Central Jakarta organization in collaboration with the Institute for Community Studies and Advocacy (Elsam) and the Institute For Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR).

This alumni from Macquarie University, Australia, claimed another example of a case that could be brought to the international court, namely when seaweed farmers, fishermen in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) filed a lawsuit in an Australian court to sue one of the kangaroo oil companies for the impact of the oil refinery explosion that caused environmental pollution in the Montara block of the Timor Sea.

“The mining, the mine pit was not finished many children who died went into the mine pit. Those cases can go to the international level, advocating international-level campaigns,” Imam said.

Incidents of human rights violations and environmental destruction can be anticipated early if lawyers take a central position to advise corporate clients to pay attention to human rights for the surrounding community.

He has high hopes that lawyers in Indonesia have an important role to convey to the company’s management that the business and human rights approach has developed rapidly at the global level so that it needs to be followed by national corporations or multinationals operating in Indonesia.

A similar view was expressed by Betty Yolanda of the Asia Regional Manager Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

Betty said a combination of lawyers and civil society successfully brought the case of the involvement of a Thai company that built a reservoir in an area in Laos into the realm of the courts.

The company in addition to depriving the community of land rights also damages the surrounding environment.

Under the conditions of the reclusive country, Betty said, lawyers took strategic steps to bring the case to a Thai court.

“Komnas HAM Thailand plays a role in human rights protection while carrying out a strategic combination of bringing the case to court with the demands of stopping the company’s operations in Laos,” he said.

The positive verdict resulted in the court adjudicating asking the company to cease operations and pay compensation to the public.

Nevertheless, Betty said the current condition of more and more companies are developing human rights-based policies including the impact of environmental analysis into the company’s operations.

“Human rights are starting to become an important basis in investment decision making,” he said.

There began to be a lot of corporate impartiality towards human rights, according to the Executive Director of the Institute for Community Advocacy (Elsam) Wahyu Wagiman, inseparable from the implementation of the un guiding principles on business and human rights policy.

The United Nations guidelines are the work of John Ruggie, the UN representative for Business and Human Rights when researching Transnational Corporate Responsibilities and other Business Ventures with regard to human rights.

The process began when UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Ruggie in 2005 and he began researching until producing work in 2008 to present the framework to the UN human rights council.

Ruggie’s new approach to business and human rights relations produces 3 pillars of principle, namely protection from the state for human rights, respect for companies responsible for respecting human rights means not violating human rights, and the restoration of countries and companies to expand access for victims to get an effective recovery through judicial and non-judicial mechanisms.

Wahyu said European businesses have largely integrated human rights policy but in Indonesia have not.

The development of business respect for human rights after the UNGPs guidelines emerged ISO 26000 was adopted by almost 93% of members of the International Organization for Standardization as human rights clauses in accordance with UNGPs.

In addition, known in oil palm plantations is the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) by establishing Principles and Criteria by adding protection of human rights defenders.

One of the largest companies to start integrating human rights is Nestle in partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

How in Indonesia?

He mentioned that there is already a National Human Rights Action Plan (RANHAM) 2015-2019 which was decided through the presidential Decree No. 33/2018.

But unfortunately, at the ministry level, the new Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries is showing concern for human rights through The Candy of Marine and Fisheries No. 35/2015 on Human Rights System and Certification in Fisheries and Fisheries Candy And Fisheries No. 2/2017 on Human Rights Certification Requirements and Mechanisms.

Advisory Board of DPC Peradi Central Jakarta Tabrani Abby said the issue of business terms and human rights has not decorated the realm of advocates in the country.

Echoes of the term began to be known by lawyers recently and the Peradi conference in Bali in August 2019 then gave a portion related to business development and human rights that began to become an important part of global business.

Tabrani himself began encouraging lawyers to commit to encouraging corporations to respect human rights.

“Advocates have a commitment first to human rights enforcement, then he can encourage corporations ,” he said.


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