The Public Hearing on Corporate Social Responsibility and ASEAN is a stand-alone, one-day event, immediately before the 6th ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC) in Jakarta.
The public hearing features testimonies by survivors and/or witnesses of specific incidents. The testimonies, backed up with visual resources, are human stories which emphasize the necessity and urgency of ensuring that corporate and governmental stakeholders engaged in economic activities are compliant with international and regional laws and standards.
As a component of the hearing (Session 4), Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) brings forward the case of 31 Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia, working at Asahi Kosei, a Japanese company. Testimony is given by Charles Hector, a human rights defender whose efforts to call attention to the abuses of these migrant workers has resulted in a $3.2 million lawsuit for defamation and libel.
Civil society organizations and human rights defenders across Southeast Asia have long been calling attention to cases in which individuals and groups have been adversely affected by the activities of multinational corporations operating within ASEAN. Charles Hector’s case exemplifies the power of major corporations to exploit workers, evade responsibility for their actions, and target and intimidate those who call attention to these abuses. The legal action taken against Mr. Hector not only threatens free speech, but also discourages human rights defenders from exposing the plight of migrant workers who are often unable to speak for themselves. In Malaysia, violations of human and labour rights largely go unreported.
2 May 2011 | Jakarta, Indonesia