Dr. Surya Deva, a Member of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights and Associate Director at the Public Law and Human Rights Forum (CPLR), was invited by Melbourne Asia Review’s Managing Editor, Cathy Harper to discuss some of the main challenges faced by implementing business and human rights in Asia under the influence of COVID and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In this interview, Dr. Deva expressed concerns regarding the usage of COVID by governments as a pretext to constrain and restrict their human rights responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles in Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and the subsequent scenarios that the Working Group has noticed regarding the BRI project.
While it is encouraging to witness an increase of good practices by various governments and companies in Asia, Dr. Deva emphasized on a lack of political will on the part of governments, the need to remove barriers on corporate accountability for human rights abuses, amongst other recommendations, and for the BRI project, to increase greater meaningful consultation by businesses and governments on the topic of environmental impact, labor and human rights with communities affected by their projects. For those interested in a greater appreciation of the challenges facing the implementation of UNGPs in the region and the current situation with business and human rights in the BRI project, you are encouraged to visit the interview via the link below.
For details on the interview, please see: