International Conference on Business and Human Rights: Holding Governments Accountable in Asia

July 12, 2018 to July 14, 2018

With increasing attention to business and human rights, this conference takes a critical look at the standards and practices on business and human rights in Asia. In particular it seeks to examine if this current interest in business and human rights conveniently ignores the civil and political violations by the State and its responsibility to guarantee human rights protection. This dimension is critical in the context of a region that seems giddy with numerous business and human rights initiatives undertaken by governments, who themselves are human rights violators, and human rights organisations and others that find it easy to engage with businesses rather than governments. While many businesses have begun to speak to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed by the Human Rights Council in 2011, the larger concern is whether the focus on business and human rights removes the spotlight from the State. Hence the conference seeks to examine these key questions:


  • What are the human rights duties of business entities, both domestically and when engaged in business activities abroad?
  • Is the voluntary adoption of human rights standards through corporate social responsibility for branding purposes enough?
  • In a world where business organizations now rival the power of many states as actors in international relations, should such entities have obligations under international human rights law?
  • Is the increasing attention to business and human rights merely a facade for governments to gain protective cover or is there a genuine desire to regulate business entities from a rights perspective?



The key themes that will be examined are as follows are:

  1. Application of international standards on business and human rights in Asia
  2. Capacity of national and regional institutions to address  business and human rights concerns in Asia
  3. Challenges faced by business entities in meeting human rights standards
  4. Role civil society organisations in advocating for business and human rights issues in Asia
  5. Other related themes



The conference aims to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Convene members of academia, civil society and businesses working on human rights in Asia
  2. Exchange information and best practices for human rights standards in Asia
  3. Disseminate the findings through online and offline channels
  4. Contribute to advocacy for the protection of human rights in Asia


Conference Structure
The conference will consist of thematic panels, country-specific discussions and a final plenary session which will be open to civil society groups, international organisations, government officials and the academic community to facilitate knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.


Conference Fee
This is a self-funded conference, hence a fee of USD$250 that will be charged to all keynote, paper and poster presenters and participants. This will go towards covering the cost of the venue, equipment and logistics, coffee breaks on all days, certificates for participants, and conference communications. Students will be charged a flat fee of USD180.

Conference Fee


*Please be aware that all conference fees are not refundable.
**All costs regarding the transfer of the registration fee (Transfer fees) are to be covered by the applicant.

Submission Guidelines
Researchers wishing to present papers are invited to submit an abstract in English of 300-350 words along with a short biographical paragraph of 100 words to Full papers should be 5000 words.


Poster presentations

Limited space is available for 4 to 5 poster presentations. Your presentation may be submitted in word / pdf format to the Asia Centre for consideration. A 60×80 cm poster will be printed and displayed during the conference. Full conference fees apply.


Online Participation

We welcome presentations and participation via Skype. Full conference fees apply.


Target Audience

The conference is open to participants from academic institutions, businesses, national and regional civil society organisations, international NGOs and intergovernmental organisations to facilitate knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.


Abstract Submission: Deadline Extended to 28 February 2018
Notification of acceptance of abstracts: by 15 March 2018
Payment of conference fees: latest 8 June 2018
Full paper submission: latest 15 June 2018

Programme Outline
Day 1 (12 July 2018): 9am to 5pm (Paper Presentations)

Day 2 (13 July 2018): 9am to 5pm (Paper Presentations)
Day 3 (14 July 2018): 9am to 12noon (Publication Workshop; Partners Meeting)


Conference Partnership

Asia Centre invites expressions of interests for partnerships to convene the 2018 International Conference on Business and Human Rights:  Holding Governments Accountable in Asia. More details here.


Conveners: Drs James Gomez & Robin Ramcharan


Host: Asia Centre, 128/183 Phayathai Plaza Building (17th Floor), Phayathai Road, Thung-Phayathai, Rachatewi Bangkok 10400 Thailand.


Contact: Michelle D’cruz, Programme Officer


© 2016 AsiaCentre, Bangkok, Thailand. -