United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific
Day 1 | 20 September
Regional Access to Justice and Remediation: Making it work for migrant workers
Over half of the world’s 25 million victims of human trafficking and slavery are found in the Asia-Pacific region. The majority are linked to the formal economy and global supply chains. At the 2021 United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with The Remedy Project (TRP) launched the Operational Guidelines for Businesses on Remediation of Migrant Workers Grievances to help companies and industry groups develop voluntary programmes to remediate worker grievances, especially with regard to addressing human rights concerns of migrant workers in international supply chains.
One year on, the trend towards a more robust international ecosystem that aligns with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) of “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” continues, most recently with the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) and its cascading effects for markets everywhere, including southeast Asia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated migrant workers vulnerabilities and left them at increased risk of exploitation and in limbo between legal barriers to access justice across jurisdictions. Border restrictions have also introduced new barriers to regular migration, increasing the likelihood of migrants experiencing human and labour rights abuses. Within this framework, new paradigms and innovative solutions for access to justice and remediation for migrant workers are a priority.
This main objective of this session will be to discuss the feasibility of innovative solutions for an international redress mechanism for migrant workers with the aim to develop better strategies and programmes to proactively identify, investigate, address, and ultimately prevent human rights violations. Specifically, the session will serve to:
Present the IOM Regional Mapping of State and non-State based remediation mechanisms for migrant worker grievances with particular focus on Hong Kong SAR China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam
Share best practices, challenges, and areas for joint engagement on the topic of access to justice and remediation
Unpack proposals for an inter-jurisdictional, regional remediation mechanism that would accelerate access to justice for migrant workers
Identify existing and potential innovative solutions for migrant workers to access cross-border remediation mechanisms
Panellists will reflect on the following questions:
What is good practice in operationalizing UNGPs “remedy” pillar in relation to facilitating migrant workers’ access to justice. How can it be replicated and scaled? What can we learn from remediation in cross-border trade agreements?
How can we create a more enabling environment for productive collaborations between the private sector, civil society, government and international actors, especially in light of changes in the regulatory ecosystems (for example: CSDD)?
How do we ensure migrant workers are active agents and rights holders in engaging on the topic of access to justice and remediation?