Business and Human Rights

Myanmar Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum

Employers in Myanmar debate, with ILO support, on rights-respecting businesses being a driver for human rights promotion and just, inclusive and peaceful society.

News | 01 June 2019
On 30 and 31 May 2019, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), with the support of the Myanmar ILO Liaison Office (ACTEMP Myanmar project), organized a two-day Forum on Myanmar Responsible Business and Human Rights. The forum was an important platform for UMFCCI and national and international stakeholders for stock-taking, lesson-sharing and future planning on efforts to move the role of business in Sustainable Development Goals and Responsible Business Conduct from paper to practice. Over two days, the forum counted with the participation of around 300 participants including business representatives, government officials, Ambassadors, representatives of the international community and local CSOs and students from Law faculties. Several topics were debated: trade agreements with labour and human rights clauses and its impact on Myanmar; the role of UMFCCI and other organizations in awareness raising, networking, providing services on sustainability matters; best practices in due diligence and supply chains by big companies in the country, even in conflicts areas; the role of independent and free business associations to hold government to account and in protecting civil shared space. “UMFCCI and the private sector we represent have a fundamental role in advising the government on how to shape the future of our country in a way that can allow responsible business to flourish” said UMFCCI President U Zaw Min Win. And Deborah France-Massin, Director of the ILO Bureau for Employers Activities, echoed “The Forum clearly positioned UMFCCI as a leader organization demonstrating that UMFCCI stands for human rights, peace and sustainability and is capable of guiding its members and advocating for those values”. The Forum aimed also at contributing to create better connections between industry and University. Over 80 students from Law Faculties of East Yangon and Dagon University attended the event and contributed to the discussion. Several Foreign Chambers and MNEs representatives strongly encouraged UMFCCI to organize this sort of Forum on a regular basis and continue to engage with companies-members on these topics. “The event was an encouraging signal for the country: from one side the apex employers’ body is giving a strong message to investors, buyers and government. On the other hand it was refreshing to see dozens of brilliant students with deep understanding on human rights and bringing to the table their profound reflections. Now the challenge is to build further on this platform and implement follow-up actions” remarked Rory Mungoven, ILO Liaison Officer for Myanmar.