“This is how they get away with it, getting the support of the ASEAN governments.CSR is only good on paper. For us, CSR does not make companies responsible andrespectful of the rights of the indigenous peoples and communities. These miningcompanies and their CSR cannot be relied on to respect our human rights,” lament-ed Carmen, an indigenous woman leader from Didipio District.Meanwhile, the SAPA Working Group on ASEAN said that the demand foraccountability by corporations, governments, and international financial institutions(IFIs) has increasingly become a major advocacy agenda of civil societyorganizations in ASEAN. “International financial institutions also had roles to play.How do we hold IFIs accountable on the impacts of their policies on theenvironment? Investments made by corporations and loans provided by IFIs in theregion have a big impact on the environment. These had caused widespreadenvironmental degradation and social damage as evidenced by the eighteen casesthat we had heard from all over the region in our two public hearings in 2011,” saidPremrudee Daoroung of Terra Foundation, whose group is opposing the constructionof the Xayabouri megadam project which will affect communities in Lao, Thailandand Cambodia.While the group is outraged with ASEAN and big business for the various humanrights violations across the region, they added that they are still engaging theregional body, and will continue in putting forward recommendations on how tosafeguard the rights of the people and the affected communities.“We have to hold ASEAN accountable in order to ensure that human rights, socialand environmental protection and accountability are promoted and implemented. Itis time ASEAN governments do their roles in regulating big business practices. Theyshould realize that ASEAN is us, the peoples of the region, and not the corporations”Ms. Corinna Lopa of the South East Asian Committee on Advocacy (SEACA) said. The group calls on ASEAN to review all national laws in order to regulate activities of corporations and strengthen the right to remedy for the peoples, adopt a clear setof regional standards that reflect international standards and a grievancemechanism, including dispute resolution mechanism, audit system, as well asadvisory for corrective action, when these standards are violated.# # #
Solidarity for Asian Peoples Advocacy (SAPA)
is a joint platform for advocacy of regionaland national civil society organizations that do joint strategizing and action in engaging the ASEAN.SAPA has engaged the ASEAN on the drafting processes of the ASEAN Charter and the ASEAN HumanRights Declaration (AHRD). It also works with other CSOs in engaging ASEAN on various thematicissues including civil society participation mechanisms, labour and migration, agriculture and trade,food security, extractive industries, climate change, freedom of information, corporateaccountability, border conflicts, indigenous peoples’ rights, gender and children’s rights. Since 2006,SAPA and its members have endeavored to broaden the involvement of civil society in the variousASEAN processes and are committed to ensure civil society participation to the annual civil societyparallel event. This year, under the aegis of the
ASEAN Grassroots Peoples Assembly
, SAPA isorganizing four regional workshops on the following issues: business and human rights, AHRD, peaceand trade justice.