Push for Asean to tighten human rights due diligence for cross-border financing of agribusiness

Research finds that financial institutions in the region are largely silent on conflicts over land rights. Most do not consider, in their lending and investment practices, whether women farm workers are treated unequally or if general labour conditions are fair.

New research indicates that financial institutions in Southeast Asia are neglecting to set strong socially-aligned preconditions before they lend to agribusinesses, hence indirectly supporting irresponsible business practices that often lead to human rights abuses, labour rights violations, gender-based discrimination, and other social harms. There are now renewed calls from civil society for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the region’s 10-member bloc, to step in with tougher regulations. 

In a policy brief submitted by civil society organisations to the Cambodian government, ahead of the Asean summit that the country chaired in November, the regional grouping was urged to establish a non-judicial grievance mechanism for affected workers and vulnerable communities to “seek remediation”, as well as engage with individual governments on defining sustainable finance taxonomies that uphold human rights and social standards, among other recommendations.

Effective enforcement tools need to be in place to monitor the financial sector, particularly banks operating in Southeast Asia, and ensure that they are in compliance with widely-adopted international or regional guidelines on responsible financing or human rights, according to the policy brief. 

In full: https://www.eco-business.com/news/push-for-asean-to-tighten-human-rights-due-diligence-for-cross-border-financing-of-agribusiness/

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