Day 3 | 9 June
Addressing SLAPP against HRDs in South-East Asia: Challenges and lessons learned
The use of Strategic Litigation against Public Participation (SLAPP) in South-East Asia against human rights defenders (HRDs), women HRDs, environmental HRDs, journalists and community rights workers is an escalating and pervasive trend in the region.
SLAPP cases filed by businesses to silence individuals from speaking out on human rights violations and issues of public concern have a chilling effect on the exercise of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and discourage public participation in policy and decision making. Environmental HRDs including land rights and community rights workers continue to face heightened risks, and a sizable number of those targeted are women.
While several countries in the region have adopted anti-SLAPP provisions and/or have adopted or are in the process of developing a National Action Plan on BHR, it is critical to reflect on the effectiveness of measures already in place to address and prevent SLAPPs.
The purpose of this event is to bring attention to key human rights issues related to SLAPPs in South-East Asia and to discuss legislative and policy developments, looking into challenges and lessons learned.
The 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th Anniversary of the United Nationas Declaration on Human Rights Defenders provide an important opportunity to discuss the critical role of HRDs, including in the context of advancing a meaningful implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The session also explores how the guidance provided by the Working Group to the Human Rights Council in June 2021 can serve as a framework for individuals and organizations seeking to uphold the rights of human rights defenders.
About the session
This session will include 4-5 speakers from a variety of settings to share views on how mHRDD might give shape to a new social and economic landscape in Asia. To better understand the full potential of HRDD, and any tradeoffs, speakers will address the most controversial questions being asked by trade unionists, political analysts, business leaders and environmentalists.
The session seeks to:
Identify and discuss the key human rights issues related to the use of SLAPPs in the region;
Discuss current and potential legislative and policy developments to address and prevent SLAPPs;
Share lessons learned and recommendations for future action to address the human rights challenges related to SLAPPs.
The UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Office for South-East Asia, and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).