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Moving Beyond Compliance: Integrating Respect for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption

An event with Prof. Dato' Dr. Aishah Bidin, Prof. Anita Ramasastry, Ms. Serena Lillywhite, Ms. Patience Bin, Mr. Nicholas Booth and Dr. Seree Nonthasoot
National University of Malaysia, United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Transparency International Australia, Natura & Co, United Nations Development Programme and Stock Exchange of Thailand / Institute of Research and Development for Public Enterprises

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About this event

BACKGROUND

Increasingly, attention is being paid to the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights as corruption both drives human rights abuses and hinders the effective discharge of human rights obligations. Efforts to tackle the issues of human rights and anti-corruption through an integrated approach are limited, despite both being part of “responsible” business conduct.. It is clear that business who are able to respect human rights, must also take a stance against corruption in their operations.

In terms of motivators and incentives, legislation prohibiting private sector corruption and limiting negative human rights impacts are often separated with different requirements and obligations under each legal framework. This can signal to the private sector that human rights and corruption policies are separate risks and concerns. Additionally, while legislation prohibiting corporate involvement in corruption has been in effect for some time, including UNCAC Art. 12, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the UK Anti-Bribery Act, recent trends have pushed for further legislation on human rights due diligence and limiting negative corporate impact on human rights. Recent trends have also pushed for increased enforcement of anti-corruption laws, as well as the creation on an international court on corruption. Furthermore, under both ESG reporting standards and SDG Goal 16, human rights and corruption are linked to concepts of governance and strengthening institutions. The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights is about to present a new report on how to connect the anti-corruption and Business and Human Rights agenda to the Human Rights Council in June. UNDP’s Fair Business program aims to promote fair, transparent and predictable business environments in ASEAN. Finally, UNDP’s Business and Human Rights program aims to promote the effective implementation of through technical advisory, awareness raising, and capacity building support.

SESSION DESCRIPTION

This session will explore a multi-stakeholder approach to integrating human rights and anti-corruption risk mitigation in business operations. The session will highlight how governments can integrate these topics through greater policy cohesion on human rights and anti-corruption. The session will also explore examples from the anti-corruption agenda and how initiatives such as integrity pacts can potentially be used to improve human rights. Finally, the session will include examples from businesses who have begun to integrate these concepts into their operations.

SESSION OBJECTIVES

This session aims to:

  • Highlight approaches to policy cohesion from States on anti-corruption and human rights;

  • Highlight how businesses view the links between human rights and anti-corruption;

  • Demonstrate examples from anti-corruption civil society organizations on how human rights and corruption can be integrated in business.

QUESTIONS

  • How can States better integrate the policy approach and legal framework for business on human rights and anti-corruption?

  • With the recent trend and discussion pertaining to mandatory human rights due diligence, is there a place for corruption due diligence?

  • How does business view human rights and anti-corruption in terms of their own compliance?

  • What are some ways they have or could integrate the two issues?

  • How does civil society view the integration between human rights and corruption in business? What are potential entry points for improving integration?

Prof. Dato' Dr. Aishah Bidin

Aishah is a Professor of Corporate and Insolvency Law, Faculty of Law, National University of Malaysia (UKM) and a former Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) (2013- 2019). She is also the former Dean of the Faculty of Law, UKM (2009-2014) and former Deputy Dean (Academic, Research and International Relations) UKM (2000-2006). She was also the former legal advisor of UKM Holdings (2008-2013), the corporate arm of UKM.

Ms. Serena Lillywhite

Serena Lillywhite is the Chief Executive Officer at Transparency International Australia. Serena has had a 20-year career in responsible business conduct and is an experienced corporate accountability practitioner, researcher and advocate. Serena is well known for her work on the social dimensions of international business, particularly: governance, corruption, human rights, labour rights, resettlement and gender.

Ms. Patience Bin

Patience Bin is Global Ethics & Compliance Lead, Anticorruption & Head of Compliance, APAC of Natura & Co (Avon, Natura, The Body Shop, Aesop). Before going inhouse, she was a white collar criminal defense attorney in the Washington DC office of Mayer Brown LLP.

Mr. Nicholas Booth

Mr. Booth joined the Governance and Peacebuilding team at UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub in 2013, where he advises on peacebuilding, rule of law, access and justice and human rights dimensions of UNDP’s regional programming as well as supporting UNDP country offices throughout Asia and the Pacific. He is senior advisor to “Promoting a Fair Business Environment in ASEAN”, a UNDP-led initiative in partnership with the UK Prosperity Fund through its ASEAN Economic Reform Programme which focuses on anti-corruption, transparent and participatory public procurement, business integrity and court excellence

Dr. Seree Nonthasoot

Seree Nonthasoot is a Governor and the Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Stock Exchange of Thailand. He also serves as a board member of the Government Pension Fund of Thailand and the Chair of its Corporate Governance Committee. He has been a key player in the mainstreaming of ESG principles in Thailand and ASEAN.

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