The above conference was held in Seoul Korea on 11th to 13th of October 2011. The Commissioner Dr. M.A.J. Mendis represented HRCSL. It was attended by the Forum Councilors from several NHRII, Secretary Generals and officers from number of institutions. It was hosted by NHRC Korea and APF, and in corporation with the OHCHR and the Business and Human Rights working groups of the International Coordination Committee (ICC).
Welcome speech was made by Mr. Bang Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.
The Conference followed the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and was convened as a response to the ICC’s 10th International Conference of NHRII held in Edinburgh in 2010 and its declaration, which called upon NHRIs to hold regional workshops to consider how they can utilize their mandates to address corporate related Human Rights Violations.
The business and human rights since then have taken a front seat as confirmed undoubtedly from the excellent presentations made on the first day itself. Subsequently Dr. Mendis has emphasised that semi – state business enterprises and none – state business actors provide the bulk of which needed foreign exchange for development projects which had kicked off particular with the cessation of the civil war which embraced Sri Lanka for three decades. However, Dr. Mendis has pointed out that no complaints have been received up to – date, possible due to ignorance of public a large.
Dr. Mendis confirmed that the Conference was of paramount importance to crystallize NHRIs collective awareness understanding and readiness to implement their mandates and particularly enabled him to take stock of the three pillar – Protect, Respect and Remedy frame work of Prof. John Ruggie of Danish Institute for Human Rights, He had been able to thoroughly understand two guiding principles 1. business to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and 2. make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Finally a comprehensive “Outcome Statement” had been approved by the delegates.
Dr. Mendis had also taken this opportunity to strengthen the ties with NHRIs he and Commissioner Mr. Anandarajah established last month in Bangkok and to prepare the roadmap for upgrading HRCSL to ‘A’ – status accreditation by constant dialogue with Mr. Kieren Fizpatrick, Director of APF, Mr. Greg Heesman, Legal Counsel of APF, Representative of the ICC Sub Committee of accreditation Mr. Young Hye Kim and the Chairman of SCA, Mr. Koffi Kounte.
He has attended the welcome dinner hosted by NHRCK Chairman on the 11th and taken part in the cultural tour on the 13th to an ancient traditional Korean Palace in Changdeokgunge.
The assistance given by Ms. Cynthya Veliko of UNDP before he left to Seoul, in the form of Literature on the theme is here by sincerely acknowledged by Dr. Mendis.