MCRB Provides Comments on the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Draft Strategic Plan 2020-2024
These comments focus on how the next Commission can address business and human rights issues in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the role of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in this, including the contribution they can make assisting a future Myanmar government in developing a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights. Myanmar has not yet embarked on a NAP process; several ASEAN countries are now in the process of doing so.
MCRB’s co-founder the Danish Institute for Human Rights has worked with NHRIs in the region on business and human rights, and has developed a guidebook, and digital course for them on business and human rights, and an NHRI’s responsibilities. In 2019, MCRB has been delivering this ‘blended’ (online and face to face) training to around 20 MNHRC staff including Commissioners.
MCRB has also on an ad hoc basis shared its experience and knowledge of international standards on business and human rights with the aim of assisting the Commission in their work, Most recently this included providing suggestions for the Enquiry which the MNHRC have undertaken into the suicide of an LGBT employee at Myanmar Imperial University, where MCRB encouraged the Commission to frame their recommendations in the wider context of discrimination in Myanmar society against LGBT individuals, including through the legal provisions of the current Penal Code. This advice is included in Annex to the letter with comments on the Strategic Plan. MCRB will be discussing this issue, and the role which business can play, in a workshop on 28/29 August 2019, drawing on the UN’s Free and Equal Global Business Standards.
MCRB’s letter also draws attention to the important recommendations on Commission reform made by the CSO Working Group on MNHRC Reform, a 24 member coalition which was formed in 2019 and advocates for reform of the MNHRC so it is an effective, independent, and transparent national human rights institution that promotes and protects the rights of all people of Myanmar in line with the Paris Principles. The coalition recently released a statement on the selection process for the new Commission (the current Commission’s mandate expires this year) and on reform of the Human Rights Commission Law.