Workshop promotes Asian business and human rights scholarship

UNDP teams up with the Business and Human Rights Journal for training for Asian scholars

October 13, 2023
UNDP and BHRJ workshop for Asian scholars

Scholars and academic institutions play a pivotal role in spotlighting the human rights impacts of business activities, fostering dialogue, and promoting understanding. They not only champion the call for accountability regarding human rights abuses but also influence the shape and trajectory of business and human rights (BHR) discussions through research, policy recommendations, and public engagement.

In partnership with the Business and Human Rights Journal, UNDP’s B+HR Asia hosted a writing workshop for Asian scholars conducting research on business and human rights across Asia and the Pacific. The training included scholars who submitted abstracts to the journal's upcoming Asia-Pacific special issue, and was led by Surya Deva, editor in chief of BHRJ, and three of the Asia-Pacific special issue’s guest editors – Harpreet Kaur, UNDP B+HR Asia; Rashmi Venkatesan, National Law School of India University, Bangalore; and Bill Taylor, City University of Hong Kong.

During the workshop, 11 scholars from the Asia-Pacific region – including Cambodia, China, India, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand – presented their research, with topics covering migrant, domestic and gig workers; the agribusiness, palm oil and gig sectors, applying a feminist lens to the Bhopal industrial accident, patriarchal structures of human rights due diligence in garment supply chains, sustainable financing for MSMEs, and the intersection between climate change, indigenous rights, and business and human rights.

The training covered the building blocks of publishing research, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and specific methodologies used in the BHR field, as well as a session focused on the importance of research in evidence-based policy and decision making.   

In addition to strengthening writing and research skills, the workshop also encouraged exchange among scholars in Asia, creating opportunities for collaboration that will heighten not only understanding of the specific challenges the region is facing, but also the scholars able to solve these problems.

This was the second instalment of the workshop, following the 2021 edition, aimed at nurturing a growing community of Asian academics passionate about BHR. The event assembled preeminent scholars to explore into the intricacies of BHR within the context of the Asia Pacific's unique challenges and developments.

The Asia-Pacific special issue will bring together leading scholars and practitioners to critically examine business and human rights challenges and developments in the Asia-Pacific region. It will be published in 2025. Guest editors of the special issue are Harpreet Kaur, Rashmi Venkatesan, Bill Taylor, and Shelley Marshall, College of Business and Law, RMIT University in Melbourne.