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Jakarta Post

Human rights guidelines prepared for businesses

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, June 20, 2015   /  11:24 am

The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said on Friday it was preparing guidelines to change business practices to better accommodate human rights.

The commission'€™s Business and Human Rights desk head, Nur Kholis, said the commission was compiling the guidelines, called the National Action Plan on Human Rights, after receiving many reports on human rights abuses by business groups throughout the country.

'€œThe state is not the only culprit in human rights violations, companies can also share the blame,'€ Nur Kholis told reporters on Friday during a press conference at the commission'€™s headquarter in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

Nur Kholis said the guidelines aimed at preventing future human rights violations that occur as a negative impact of a company'€™s operations. The guidelines would be binding on all companies operating in Indonesia, he said.

'€œThe action plan is being prepared to make companies responsible for the negative impacts resulting from their operations. So far, only the state has been held responsible for human rights abuses. We want companies to take responsibility too,'€ Nur Kholis said.

Indonesia'€™s current human rights laws and regulations are not strong enough to ensure the protection of human rights in the business sector. In fact, Nur Kholis said, there was a dearth of laws that regulated the human rights aspects of business, which led to widespread abuse.

In 2012, the commission recorded 1,009 reports of human rights abuses committed by companies, making business groups the second-biggest human rights violator after the police. '€œThe negative impacts will continue if we don'€™t regulate business behavior,'€ he said.

After finishing the action plan, the commission expects to hold talks with the Law and Human Rights, Home, State-owned Enterprises and Manpower and Transmigration ministries, to discuss ways to implement the plan.

In the guidelines, Corporate Responsibility Programs (CSR) as one aspect of corporate practices would also be subject to scrutiny.

Komnas HAM said current CSR practices were '€œtoo charity-based.'€

'€œWe want to change the nature of CSR from charity-based programs to public policy-based actions that will have a greater impact on society and the environment,'€ he said.

When the guidelines are put into effect, companies would be required to protect the environment, to provide appropriate work conditions for their employees, and to preserve local customs and traditions in operational areas, Nur Kholis said.

When asked if the guidelines would hamper investment in the country, Nur Kholis said they would provide middle ground to benefit both society and companies. (saf)

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