Human Rights Law and Policy Forum, Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Hong Kong and Mainland China: The Role of a BHR Network, 1 March 2019

On 1 March 2019, the Human Rights Law and Policy Forum of the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong held the Workshop on ‘Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Hong Kong and Mainland China: The Role of a BHR Network’ at the School of Law Conference Room.

The Workshop consisted of two sessions: While the first session was mainly presentations delivered by guest speakers, the second session was a roundtable discussion regarding to the potential formation of a Business Human Rights (BHR) Network here in Hong Kong.

The Workshop commenced with an introduction to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) given by Dr. Surya Deva (Associate Professor, School of Law, CityU). He explained the importance of UNGPs under which all countries should take a certain duty to support and protect the fundamental concept of human rights.

After the introduction, it moved on to the presentations delivered by guest speakers. It began with Mr. Lowell Chow (Business and Human Rights Resource Centre) who presented on the opportunities and limitations to engage with the Chinese Companies on BHR, followed by Mr. Johnson Yeung (Clean Clothes Campaign East Asia) on enforcing brand agreement and experiences in holding corporation accountable, then Ms So Sheung (Labor Education and Service Network) on new models for leveraging public procurement purchasing power to implement monitoring and remediation in the supply chain of Information and Communication Technology, and finally Mr. Han Dongfang (China Labour Bulletin) on learning lessons from collective bargaining.

The second part of the Workshop was a roundtable discussion related to the proposed BHR Network. Discussions involved possible values that the UNGPs and BHR lens can bring to the table, especially how a BHR Network can be useful for Hong Kong. This includes questions such as what kind of structure and administration should the proposed Network operate in, and what kind of activities and initiatives could the proposed Network undertake using UNGPs and BHR lens, in order to expand their connection towards other like-minded regional and international network.

The Workshop ended with a closing remark by Dr. Surya Deva, who thanked all the guest speakers and attendees for their contributions to the discussion. All attendees agreed to form a ‘google group’ as the beginning to a potential formation of a BHR network.