Informing human rights agenda - discussion on workers rights, poverty, needs for change by government bodies and the impacts of technology on human rights - particular focus on dispensability, data issues and privacy.
Informing human rights agenda - discussion on workers rights, poverty, needs for change by government bodies and the impacts of technology on human rights - particular focus on dispensability, data issues and privacy.
Well, welcome everyone.
It's so lovely to see all these faces.
My name is Shelley Marshall, and I'm
the Director of the RMIT University
Business and Human Rights Centre.
I'd like to acknowledge that
I'm on the land of the Wurrundjeri people
of the Kulin nations and
pay my respects to their elders,
past, present and future.
And to introduce this wonderful event,
it's hosted jointly by the
RMIT Business and
Human Rights Centre, and the Public Law
and Human Rights Forum of City University Hong Kong.
one of our speakers, is the Director
there and what we have tonight
in our audience is a mixture of the
PhD students who are attending
our doctoral symposium that
runs over three days.
It's the 2021 Asia and Oceania Business
and Human Rights Doctoral Symposium that's
titled 'Informing the Business and
Human Rights Agenda of the next Decade'.
It's an online symposium,
and as I said,
it's running for three days and we
are at the end of our first day.
So it's really lovely to invite
you to this public session.
this thought leadership event thinking
about the future of business,
human rights and what our agenda should be.
It's also something of a soft-launch
for the RMIT Business and
Human Rights Centre.
So I wanted to take the opportunity
to just quickly introduce it
to you if you haven't already
come across it. We started last year,
at the start of the (COVID-19) pandemic and
we're located in the College
of Business at RMIT University.
We're an interdisciplinary research center
that brings together legal, accounting,
business and management scholars.
And it's the home for research
on business ethics,
corporate accountability and social and
sustainable enterprises at RMIT University.
And we're really thrilled to be
co-hosting this inaugural
Human Rights Symposium for doctoral students,
and we really hope that we all
continue to organize these annually
and foster a really strong community
of scholars who get to know each
other, who influence each other, who
collaborate with each other in future years.
So for our first thought leadership event,
we're having three of them,
and this is our public one
we're really thrilled to bring Usha
Ramanathan and Surya Deva onto your Zoom
feed today. And we've asked them to
give us their views about business and
human rights to say where they think
our attention should be.
And what we might do differently
over the next decade compared
with where we've been so far.
What our priorities are,
what our concerns are.
And the way that we're going to
run this evening is that both our
speakers will provide a 10 minute or so
introduction to their thoughts,
and then correct me if I'm wrong and
we've decided to do things differently,
but they will then begin a conversation
with each other about their ideas,
the differences between them,
and then I will invite you to
join that conversation as well,
I invite you, the audience,
to write questions and comments in the chat.
Please don't hold back.
I love an active chat during presentations.
And if you have questions,
I'll certainly try to keep an eye on them
and bring them into the conversation later,
or I'll call on you to expand on it.
So our first speaker is Usha Ramanathan,
who works on the jurisprudence
of law, poverty and rights.
She's an Indian human rights activist.
She was the recipient of the 2019,
correct me if I'm wrong,
Human Rights Hero Award for tireless efforts
to highlight the issues related to Aadhaar.
Her research interests include human rights,
and the environment.
And she's particularly devoted her
attention to a number of specific
issues such as the Bhopal gas
disaster and, correct me, is that how
the two of you met around that
disaster? And the Nomada Valley dance
and the slum eviction in Delhi.
Usha, thank you so much for
joining us this evening.
We're really looking forward
to hearing from you.
Oh, and you're muted.
Thank you Shelley. You know when two Indians meet,
there are at least ten different routes
through which we meet, so I think
this perhaps was one way through which
Surya and I met,
but there are many connections so.
I was thinking of today,
as you know, I'm thinking of it as what
are the preoccupations that
have been dogging us
through the decades, and what
is it that's occupying us now?
So I'll just mention three broad
areas, and then maybe the rest of
it can come out in the discussion.
And so yeah, if it's OK with you, yeah?
So the first is what's really
worrying us enormously today?
And that is the question of technology.
You know technology that started
as a very exciting thing.
Which offered so many possibilities,
which seemed like it would be
furthering the cause of human rights,
has now turned out to be something
that's very different from what
it was, and it did begin
in our lives in the way in which
it is still about 15-20 years ago.
And within this short time,
it's shifted from a great deal of
excitement, to a great deal of anxiety.
We are seeing technology that
was meant to be facilitating
communication between people.
From across the world like
it's happening now, and
the idea of information
which we could get about what is
happening anywhere in the world at all,
and with such speed that,
you know, we would
go along with the world, time,
the idea of time itself would change,
and the idea of knowledge
would change with this.
This is the kind of expectation with
which we entered the world of technology,
but we've seen that that has
Today we worry about monopolistic
data collection by companies.
We worry about surveillance.
We worry about the relationship
between technology companies,
technology controllers and the state.
We worry about how technology
is making subjects out of,
you know, peoples.
We worry about the objectification of
people and the datafication of people.
We worry that the idea of the
global is changing so dramatically
that everybody being on a database
and everybody being visible
at any given point in time to
data controllers and technology
controllers is boggling our mind.
It's very difficult to
understand all of this and to
be able to respond to all of this.
We find that the spaces technology has
created another kind of thing where
A new form of disintermediation has
come in, where the relationship between
administrators and the people is mediated
through technology and not directly.
So, this is brought in
questions other than of
surveillance of the digital divide.
And we've seen that in the
starkness of it during COVID-19,
where those who are able
to access technologies,
who are who are able to
get onto it and move on,
at least to a certain
extent with their lives,
are a world apart from
people who are unable to
get their hands on this technology,
partly because it costs. Partly because,
you know, the bandwidth for instance
doesn't really include places which were
not relevant for technology providers.
So the context of technology has been
one very important thing, and you know,
it's my hypothesis and a little more
than a hypothesis that what we need is a
dramatically different imagination about
technology and at ground technology.
And that, you know,
the the ones who are
driving this present imagination of
technology, are those who want a new
resource to be created, a natural resource.
And then, a resource that can be
used by multiple people at the same time,
unlike land or unlike minerals.
Which is the idea of data.
So this is the emergence of
all paperless data.
I actually started when I was trying
to think about what artificial
It seemed like you know when we were
children we read about, you know,
we read stories that were kind of in that
were relatable to artificial intelligence.
"I, Robot" for instance,
It's such a beautiful book.
And it was so exciting to think that you
could have rules that would limit what,
robots could do to us and that we
would be in control, and the robot would
be the servant and we would be the master,
So you didn't need to be a master
over another human being.
You could bring equality among people in,
make the robot subservient to what
what you were to you.
But now we find that this iis
completely changing, where technology
is being introduced to us
as the master.
To which we have to be subservient.
It has serious implications
for human rights.
It has serious implications
for the future of the world.
It has serious implications,
for instance, with the idea
of redundancy and dispensability.
So if you look at one of our
I mean the world's technology majors.
Oh, in one of his speeches he's given a,
He shows the population graph of the
world at the beginning of the 20th century
and at the beginning of the 21st century,
and then he says,
you know, it's grown so much.
And then he says, you know,
so many people on this world,
well, we need to worry about it.
when we were
a vaccine should be given to
children in Africa.
We wondered whether it should be done or not,
because if you vaccinated all
the children in Africa then they
would all survive and it would
add to the burden of the world.
And then we we felt no, no, no baby.
That's not the way to think about it.
If we vaccinate them, then because
the children will
survive, will live on, parents may be
disinclined to have very many more children,
so it's not about
the answer that they found,
but the question that they asked that
they could even think in terms of
saying that some people are redundant,
and maybe they shouldn't even properly
live, and such. It's a very serious moment.
I don't want to be... I don't want to sound
like I'm seeing the end of the world,
but I'm definitely seeing the end of a
certain way in which we know the world.
Unless we are able to step in now
and figure out what to do about it,
it's not too late,
but I don't think it would be wise
to wait very much longer.
And the second part of this is that
the Bhopal gas disaster which Shelley
said I, you know, had worked
on, many people have worked on the
Bhopal gas disaster, it used to be
a conversation stopper at every
business and human rights meeting.
Because once you say Bhopal,
there is really,
you know nobody can justify it.
Nobody can defend it.
And for those who don't know, the
Union Carbide had a factory in
Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, in central India.
And they had decided that they
wanted to shift it out of here,
it's a pesticide
making factory, and they had metal
isocyanide being stored there in.
You know, much more than should have
been stored, and there was a leak.
The leak happened because the company,
only on a maintenance you know
they were only maintaining the
plant, and they were not really
working the plant at that time
and they were making a decision
about where they should,
whether they should relocate and where.
You know MIC went out into the atmosphere
around it was an industrial shantytown.
Large numbers of people died, and when
I say large numbers it's like over
the years it's over 20,000 people,
but immediately between 3 and 8000 people.
And it's significant that I see
between three and eight because,
it was so bad that people couldn't even
keep count of how many people were
actually dead. And large numbers of people.
it's the one disaster that has
like an orphan's colony and widow's colony.
And yet, the kind of remediation
and the kind of remedies for
people has been so...
So marginal. That it's shocking
that a thing like this can happen
at the world can let this you know,
the toxicity of these industries
continue, and all they had to do
was pay out of their insurance when
finally the money had to be paid.
So it's a- the Bhopal gas
disaster happened in 1984.
In December 1984, it's something that
is in our minds and hits all the time.
I mean, everybody remembers
it and for good reason.
So that's another major point from
where we took off when we were
discussing business and human rights,
and it's not something that has disappeared,
so we need to keep it on the map.
And just the last thing, that
called the corporatization
has produced extremes of inequality.
But it has also produced another
phenomenon of philanthropy.
And the same people who are you
know who inequality is benefiting
by making them extremely rich,
then come back to us as philanthropists.
And there are all kinds of
implications for this,
so it is no longer only about
the ethics or the legality.
I mean what how this should be reflected
in law, about how they function as
business and corporate enterprises.
But also what happens when they
become become philanthropists.
You know, the the the big thing
is the relationship that changes
between the people and the state
and the state and the corporation.
With this kind of inequality and
this kind of money in a few hands,
the influence that these companies
have over the state is extraordinary.
So where earlier people would go
to the state and ask the state to
make laws, or to provide protections
of various kinds, or ask them,
you know the classic thing of respect,
protect and fulfill human rights.
Now that is getting broken because the
relationship is much stronger between
the state and the corporation.
And people become, you know, it's like
a battle that you can't even begin.
So that's where I see
our position now.
So I want to find at least
one nice thing to say.
I think for the next 45 minutes
and maybe come up with something,
but I'm sorry right now.
This situation is not really
which is what makes it
exciting in one sense,
because there's lots of work to do.
Thank you so much for depressing us
with those really important thoughts.
Uh, Surya. Over to you.
And then we'll come back together.
Thank you, thank you very much,
Shelley and thank you Usha for joining us
and sharing those thoughts. And we
did not, Usha and I did not share
precisely what we're going to say.
We just exchanged broadly what we
should say and how to structure it,
but I think as I put down my notes,
I think you will see some common
connections between the three issues
that Usha highlighted and what I
am going to say.
So I think you will see that connection.
The overarching point that I would like
to propose for the consideration of
all of us is this - the next decade
of business and human rights
will be very critical.
I think it will be very critical
because it will define whether
BHR will become a new CSR.
Or it can trigger transformative
changes in the world.
And I'm not very optimistic.
That it will bring transformative changes.
So my feeling, or the temptation is
is that BHR might become
a new kind of CSR.
Or as I called recently in my chapter,
it may be called
perhaps in future, the
business of human rights.
Rather than business and human rights,
so that is my fear. And I think I share
those apprehensions that Usha highlighted
in concrete terms in terms of technology.
Or the corporate edition of
resources and everything.
But let us say, the progress that we
have made in the last 20 years or
30-40 years in this particular field.
To me, the most significant progress
is that there is a wide consensus
now amongst all these stakeholders
that businesses have a responsibility
to respect international human rights.
I think there's a wide consensus on
this amongst all the stakeholders.
To me that is a significant progress.
So we don't have even companies
openly saying it now, that we have no
responsibility but to maximize profit.
I recall when I was in Sydney,
James Hardie was a big case study
And I remember, still, the
chief executive officer of
James Hardie then,
she openly said that 'we have also
responsibilities to our shareholders,
so we cannot just give money to these
people who may have suffered because
of exposures to asbestos' and all that.
So I think, increasingly we have
crossed that bridge that businesses,
at least publicly,
they are not challenging this idea that
they have human rights responsibilities.
But I would like to say, and here
I disagree with Professor John
Ruggie, that this consensus is thick.
He has argued that the consensus
for you and guiding principles,
is thick. I say it is wide but thin,
Because if it was a thick consensus,
OK, I think someone muted me, so that
shows the power of technology as well.
So technology can become so powerful
that we can become voiceless very easily,
something that Usha
was highlighting earlier.
But let me continue.
So I was saying that I will try
to make a distinction between wide
versus thick consensus.
And Professor Ruggie has argued the UN GP's
are based on thick consensus.
I say a wide consensus,
but it is very shallow and thin.
Because if it was thick, then we
don't need to have this symposium.
We don't need to have these discussions,
and so many courses and literature on BHR,
because then businesses would have
done what is needed and the states would
have and what is needed in the last 10 years.
And there's tremendous amount of evidence
whether it is Australia, India or Europe,
or anywhere in the world.
That they have done very little
in last ten years in terms of
implementing the UN guiding principle,
they are saying they're committed
to implement them.
They're saying they're supporting
the UN guiding principles,
but they are not doing ABC to implement them.
I think that is my struggle and that's
why I say the consensus is very thin.
And I think it is-
It is a matter of worry.
Bhopal Gas disaster and the cases
studied as it touches stone to assess
the progress that we have made.
So that is, that is about 35 years now.
How much progress we have made?
I think it should be assessed
with reference to the challenges
that Bhopal posed to us in 1984.
Have we overcome those challenges?
And if I ask this question myself,
I struggled to find a positive
answer because most of the challenges
that Bhopal posed in 1984 have
not been overcome now.
Whether it is about the doctrine of forum
whether it is about holding
a parent company accountable.
Whether it is about the issue of different
standards in terms of health and safety.
Whether it is the state business Nexus,
I don't think we have made tremendous
progress in overcoming those challenges.
Let me give a concrete example.
When Union Carbide agreed
to compensate the victims,
this settlement expressly mentioned
that Union Carbide does not take any
responsibility for the gas disaster.
The agreement was not confidential,
but the company expressly said that we
don't own any responsibility for this.
Fast forward 2021.
Early last month,
Vedanta agreed to settle a case.
The settlement is confidential,
but we know that Vedanta says we
do not assume any responsibility
to these farmers in Zambia.
So companies are giving pittance or
compensation, this is not justice.
This is not accountability.
And I think we are not making
progress because here, company is
saying we are not responsible but
because we have the money.
And because we think this ongoing
litigation is risky for us, businesses,
we are giving you X amount
of dollars and let
us move on.
But we are not responsible for that.
What has happened? To me,
this is not access to remedy to me.
This is not access to justice.
To me, this is not progress that we
have made in the last 35 years.
What need to change, this is my final part.
And I would challenge all of us,
and give four concrete ideas in terms
of four R's that needs to change.
The first is we need to reinstate rights.
That is my first R, reinstating
rights in business and human rights.
The second is recover the state.
That is the second R, recovered the state.
The third is reduce the
tweaks in terms of the reform.
And my fourth R is reimagine the economic model.
Let me quickly unpack these
four R's and I will
stop with that.
Now this time, business and human rights,
of course includes human rights,
but our rights, really rights in the
business and human rights field,
when businesses do not have legally
binding and enforceable obligations,
and if there is a breach,
victims are struggling to seek remedies.
And I'm not talking about merely
who are countries in the global South?
The countries where there's a
weak governance or rule of law?
I'm talking about almost
any country in the world.
Which country in the world
is able to provide
access to effective remedy to the victims
of corporate related human rights abuses.
I think we have a very difficult situation. NOTE Confidence: 0.888594132857143
So in my view,
we need to rethink business and human rights.
And make rights, and rights holders central.
We need to do what is needed
for the rights holders,
not what is acceptable to businesses.
I mean there is significant difference.
Businesses say this is not viable for us.
This is impractical.
All the progress is significant.
We always talk about glass
half full or half empty.
So businesses always say
the glass is half full.
But where are the rights holders who
may not even have a glass to hold?
Forget about the glass being empty.
Right? So I think those are the real
situations that we need to consider.
Second point is recover the state.
I think we have created this significant
paradox that we are asking the state
to protect our human rights.
And this state has completely been lost.
It is lost because of this corporate
capture of the governance institutions.
Politicians are businessmen,
businessmen are politicians, almost everywhere.
And we're talking about democracies,
we're talking about autocracies,
we're talking about
semi-democracies, look anywhere.
There are different models and variations.
But the state business nexus is so deep.
There is not much difference in
terms of who is regulating whom.
Then the other difficulty is
significant democratic deficits.
Because of which the governments
are governing only for 10%
of people in a society.
So even if they contest election on a
particular political party manifesto,
they're not even serving
that political party.
Forget about the entire
society or entire country.
They're only working to serve X percentage
of people on the top of the pyramid.
we do not have the kind of inequality
that we have at this point of time.
On other challenges that we have.
My third are is that we need to reduce
changes which are merely tweaks,
and I think this is an obligation of
scholars and especially scholars.
And I would really encourage you to
think that and challenge rather than
accept those reform options which
are merely superficial changes.
And they're not trying to address
challenges and systemic problems that we
have at this particular point of time.
And the final point is about
reimagining the economic model.
I think Usha also talked
about reimagining the technology
and I think I agree with her,
but I would expand it to reimagine the
entire economic structure that we have.
I mean, there's a lot of growing
literature about the stakeholder
capitalist reimagining capitalism,
or reforming capitalism or humane capitalism.
But can we really reform it?
Or is it beyond repair?
I think this is a legitimate question
we should be asking, because the
current model that we have is a
perfect recipe for inequality.
Exclusion and destruction of
the environment and of course,
causing the entire climate
change that we have.
So let me conclude by saying that I
don't know whether people from New
Zealand and Australia will consider
themselves as part of the global South.
But I would ask,
especially the global South scholars,
do not accept the narrative on business and
human rights that have been set elsewhere.
Rather, we should be influencing.
We should be articulating what people need,
what is needed for the global South to work.
So we should not be recipient
of the standards and the
principles set somewhere else.
Which are not based on the experiences
and diverse circumstances
of the global South.
We should not be also merely participants to
those consultations done by elsewhere, people
elsewhere, and they are articulating those
those standards, because we have
participated in those consultations.
That is merely legitimately exercise.
Rather, we should be able to
articulate standards and principles
that will serve the needs of the people
on the ground in the global South.
And the four R's that I have suggested,
it's just a small attempt to to
challenge all of us collectively,
to think of some radical solutions.
Thank you very much once again,
and happy to discuss further these points,
but I'll stop here for now.
Wonderful thank you so much.
So we said that we would now open up a
conversation between you Surya and Usha.
I wanted to provide a prompt and please
feel free to take it somewhere else,
but I'm wondering about what are
the movements, what are the social
movements or the tendencies within
the current moment within the
systems that we're looking at,
which give rise to optimism,
or which you think could be written
on or could be assisted, that would
help to bring about the kind of
change that you're both calling for.
Oop, you seem to be muted.
OK, would you want to start with that?
No, I think you start and I'll
because I had I missed a part of
it because of bad connection.
So I just moved and I hear you.
And then I'll come to repeat the question.
Then yeah, I will repeat it.
I just I wondered if you would be
interested in saying something about
contemporary social movements
that you know of or involved
in or witnessing, or tendencies and
contradictions within the systems
that you have both commented on
which give you cause for hope
and which you think we could,
we could help to push forward.
That would be the things that you're both
talking about in terms of objectives.
OK, so I'm happy to start
Surya if it's OK with you.
OK, so see the idea of social movements
in the context of human rights
has been not just very important,
it's also been very interesting.
Because there has been a,
you know, there's been a clear distinction
between NGOs and movements.
And it's been interesting to see
how over the years there has been a
collaboration between movements and NGOs.
And academics stepping in because
you know there was a time when we
used to ask who is an academic?
I mean, is an academic who comes
in to do the post-mortem, you know,
as an academic someone who's seeking
a footnote, is an academic someone
who is seeking to be a footnote.
And then you know.
So if you need to be relevant,
you really need to engage with
what is happening on the ground.
And many people find it difficult
to reach the ground.
So then they do it through movements
and they do it through NGOs.
So it's a... this collaboration that
has emerged over these past thirty,
40, 50 years has been a very important
and multiple movements have come in.
in India you know there have been-
There's the civil liberties movement,
democratic rights movement,
women's movement, pallet right movement.
You can keep,
You know, we could keep on.
There are a large number of movements,
but they are also very-
They've learned over the years
to be collaborative.
And the learning therefore is across,
uh, across issues, so it's not being.
It's not only being,
within the someone working on child
rights will also know what the
death penalty movement is saying,
because you know harm done to a child.
Child is very often used by the state to
describe the death penalty and
then you have the child rights
movement and the human rights.
You know the death penalty,
move anti death penalty movement working
together so we've seen a number of these.
What I find now and I mean I do obsess
about technology a lot these days,
even while I work on the other things
and I find for instance that you know
a whole conversation that can happen
on business and human rights without
mentioning an Edward Snowden or
Julian Assange, is deeply distressing.
Because it means that we are not seeing,
Are we asking for martyrs in the cause of
you know, of our futures?
Or are we looking at
taking responsibility for people
who have spoken up and taken,
and done what they needed to for us.
I think Snowden is such a classic
case where you know the young man
comes out and he says that I watched
what is happening within and all
technology majors are collaborating
with the state to violate every
human right that you have.
And especially the human right,
you know, the right to privacy.
And that surveillance is becoming
a norm, and that mass collection
of data is becoming the norm,
and people don't even know it.
So you know we've entered an arena
where we don't even know that
our rights are being violated.
In India, we were a little luckier if I
may use the word in a slightly sardonic
sense, in that the government went to
the court and told the court in the
context of a technology identity project,
that the people of this country
don't have a right to privacy.
So, some of these- and the reason they said
it was not just that they didn't like us.
I mean maybe they don't,
but that wasn't the reason.
The reason they said it was that
these technologies cannot survive.
With, you know, with the right to privacy.
So you have to kill the right to privacy
for these technologies to survive.
So I think the end, with all the
other movements, like when we've had,
say, the land against against land
being taken away and displacement
against slum demolition,
these have all been- they've been visible.
They you know,
there is a tangible element to them,
and so, you know, kind of working,
working with it and around it
has had very different meaning.
But with technology,
so much of it is hidden.
Until it suddenly bursts in our faces
and by which time, mostly for instance,
the mobile phone.
The mobile phone which started
as you know everyone excited
about being able to walk around.
I can never understand why
I'll confess, walking around with
the phone in their hands and to be,
you know that they can contact
people at anytime they want
and be contacted.
Now that has slowly evolved from being a
phone to being a feature phone to being
a smartphone, where we are constantly
told that the smartphone is actually
a fundamental tool for surveillance.
And we don't know what to do about it.
You don't know how to deal with it.
So I think the, you know, for social
movements to be able to incorporate
some of the new problems that are
coming in, is not proving to be as
Not that creating the movement was
simple, but recognizing what was being,
you know, what was the basic issue that the
movement was dealing with was tangible.
That which is intangible today,
you know, for instance,
inequality was far less
obvious and visible awhile ago,
and you kept feeling like OK,
you have corporates.
Everyone can't be the same, but
look at the levels of inequality
now and we're seeing it at,
you know, it's like scary.
It's like most part of humanity
has become completely redundant.
And they will have no place in either
either profit or in policy or even
in the establishing of principles.
That's what we're up against,
and that's the kind of
effort we need to put into
take the experience of uh,
movements and of, you know, civil
society actors of various kinds.
But to go beyond
and see what is not so obvious to be seen.
I think actually much of this is
obvious if we just read a permanent record,
you know, Snowden's permanent record?
We get quite a lot, and we go back to see
who were the companies who are all involved.
We get quite a lot.
We don't seem to have got there yet,
and I think we need to do that.
Thank you, if I may add two more points.
Shelley, I think social movements.
Personally I believe they really
gave the hope in this difficult time.
All over the world I'm sitting in Hong Kong,
so before COVID, people in
Hong Kong were fighting.
People in Myanmar,
I was looking at some videos
they are fighting.
Uh, I mean it has happened elsewhere as well.
Black Lives Matter
issue that unfolded in the US.
You can see all over the world.
There are different variations
of these social movements,
so I think they definitely give me,
personally, the hope and I think all of us
should believe that we have a role to play.
Human rights are not something
which we can think of
Oh, we already have these rights and
others will protect it for us - No.
Each one of us
would have to do something
to protect those rights,
and I think that is where the social
movements coming together become relevant.
But I have two issues here
that I would like to flag.
One is the use of technology
for social movements.
I think the technology could be
used in a positive manner as well.
To make connections among social movements,
not just within a country,
but also across the world.
But can we create such technologies
which can be trusted?
can there be some actors in
society who can invest on creation
of those kind of technologies?
I think that is a question that
the BHR world should be asking.
The second issue is how to differentiate
between social movements that I gave
the examples, whether they are in Hong Kong,
in the US or elsewhere.
With other movements which may
promote or try to promote
anti-human rights agenda.
Because we had protesters
supporting Trump as well.
We have thousands and millions
of people who are willing to
support the Chinese ideology of
human rights and development.
So they may also claim that
we are social movements.
So I think that differentiation,
and the question of legitimacy
that what is a principled social
movement and what is not a principle
I think those issues will become quite
relevant going forward in my view.
Usha, I wanted to ask you whether there is,
if you could maybe tell us a little bit
about the farmers movement in India and
how you see that being a relevant or
what we can learn from and in relation
to the inter business and human rights.
Uh. The farmers movement is fascinating
for a range of reasons.
One, if there has been a fundamental
shift in the meaning of rule of law
uh, here, so it's been
happening over a period of time,
but I think it's crescendoed now.
Basically it is the state saying
that the state can make a law to
enforce it on a people.
But law doesn't apply to the state.
We've seen that happening
over the period of time.
For instance, I mean to give you a
it's a legally technical issue,
but the idea that bills can be
passed in Parliament as money bills,
which basically means that we have two
Houses of Parliament and the Upper
House of Parliament will have no say
in whether the bill should be passed or not,
so it's giving short shrift
to the procedure of making the law.
In this case,
in the farmer's case, they they first
introduced it as an ordinance,
which basically means it was
And then they passed it in Parliament
into an act without any consultation.
Now when such major laws come in, normally,
it is referred to a standing
committee of Parliament.
People can represent before it and
then after considering all of that,
they will give an advisory opinion which
has to be considered by Parliament.
So there's a whole process.
And in India we've been battling
for what we call the pre-legislative
process, that you don't just introduce
a bill you don't give it only to your,
you know, to your parliamentarians,
you give it to the people. And
everybody should be able to understand
what law is, before it
you know, before it's even sent to Parliament.
None of that.
I mean, it doesn't happen normally.
In this case, it certainly didn't happen.
And the logic of the state is,
the explanation that they give
or the justification for this is
that this is good for the farmers.
And the farmers are saying never mind,
we don't want it. And we are, and it's a
it's also a very interesting
time because in Punjab,
which is which has been one of
the hotbeds of this agitation
against the laws, you've had,
the farmers have come out
to say that this is merely about
handing over all our resources to
corporates, and allowing them to
dictate what we should grow and
who we should sell it to at what
price, and where we might actually
be dismissed off our lands.
So they have,
they've identified two companies as
being the target companies which
are being supported by the state.
As the farmers see it, and they
have created zones
of boycott of these companies.
So you have Reliance and Adani,
which are two major companies
which are supported by the state.
And both of them are being boycotted,
so they they do-
Punjab is a very interesting example.
In fact there's a lot of learn
from the way they function.
So when truck loads of
material would be taken,
say of Reliance, into one
of the cities in Punjab,
they would stop them at the entrance to
the city, and there will be a driver and
a cleaner, so they will be taken of
the truck, will be taken
away, and they'll be fed
then they'll be taken care of. And
the message will be sent to the
company saying 'take this back because
this is not entering our city'.
So it's very humane with people
who are working for the companies,
but completely, you know,
unaccepting of the company
itself being there.
And it's also interesting to see the
response that came in. With Reliance,
coming out with a public statement
saying that 'we are with the farmers,
we would never do anything
to harm the farmers interest'.
And you know, this is not-
Not going into the law at all,
but just saying that, you know, we
are good guys and we are with you.
You know we are there because we like
the farmers and the farmers give us food and,
And you have Adani coming out
and saying actually what was
discussed a little while ago,
saying that you know our
shareholders need not worry,
we are not doing any harm to the farmers.
All this is just an agitation
being done by somebody else.
So our shareholders and our
investors need not worry about this
because we are not actually part
of the harm that's being caused,
and there is no harm being caused.
So it's speaking to different
audiences and saying different things,
but none of it is within that
idea of the rule of law.
These are just, you know,
advertisements in the sense of that
they're trying to stem the problem
that they have with the farmers.
The farmers have been remarkable
because it's the one, as they see it,
this is the last bastion.
Which may fall to corporate interest,
and they say that we cannot
allow this to happen because not
only will we die with this,
we will perish as a community with this,
but food insecurity will come in
because you're going to corporatize
all of this. And the way they read the
laws makes sense to a lot of people.
The farmers agitation is also
become very important because it
has a legitimacy and a strength.
Also, because of,
you know because of where they belong,
and the kind of validation of
the farmer that has happened in our
quality over the years, over the decades.
So it is,
you know we say 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' like
'Hail to the soldier, and Hail to the
farmer' so you can't treat them like you
would treat minorities, for instance.
Where you know you can villainize minorities,
it's very difficult to villainize the farming
community. And a lot of movements therefore,
are hitching themselves to that wagon,
and both supporting the movement but also
creating spaces for themselves within that
movement to see where legitimacy lies.
So it's a- and the state. It's a state where
it's a very masculine state,
and it doesn't believe in backing down.
So they say, OK, we will make 13 out
of the 14 amendments that you ask.
We will do everything you say,
but we will not repeal the law.
And the farmers are saying repeal
the law and talk to us.
And then we'll decide what kind
of a law we want.
So it's not like we don't want reform.
We've been asking for reform,
but this is not what we want.
So it's a fascinating, you know.
except that it's scary because
when you see the images the past
few days of what's you know of the
farmers protests just outside Delhi.
Uh, it's not a pretty sight.
Surya, do you want to add anything
to that or do you have a question or
intervention in relation to anything
that Usha said earlier as well?
I think Usha put it quite rightly,
and she is close to the reality.
I mean, so I think it
it relates back to the issue of democratic
deficits that I was trying to highlight.
I would just add, if people are aware
of the Indian democratic developments,
we had an emergency in the mid 1970's.
So Mrs Gandhi declared emergency.
I was a small child then, uh,
I have no idea what it must have been,
but I say
that Modi in India is behaving like
he has imposed emergency in India.
So if you can
have all those powers, without declaring an
emergency that creates a unique challenge.
Because then our typical devices of
rule of law, separation of powers,
free media, all these things exist,
everything is there.
But there is a tremendous amount of
concentration of power and behaving like
what would be in an emergency situation?
And I think we need to find our refine
our tools to counter this kind of a
concentration of power in normal times,
in a democratic country like India.
But I want you to react to, I was
looking at the chat box and I wanted
to react very briefly this point
about technology, Alan and Andy.
And I think I personally do not
consider the technologies are
inherently anti-human rights.
look at this webinar right, so
if there was no technology we
could not have done this right?
So it is possible to use technology
in a way to promote many human rights,
and I think it is also good for the
climate change, that we are not traveling
from different parts of the world.
And just joining it one city of the
world to have this conversation.
But I think what is absolutely critical
is that if the company which is providing
this technology is able to share
the personal details of Usha and me
to China or the Indian government
without telling us,
that is part of the problem.
Or if someone records what we
are saying we are saying we are
believing that we are saying is in
confidence that it won't go out.
And what if someone is recording us and
passing on those critical comments to
the relevant government authorities?
Then I think so.
I think we need to manage those
side effects of technology.
And I think that is why I
was suggesting that,
because we human beings
like free things,
so we like all these free apps
that we download in our smartphones,
But no app you can download for free
or no email that you can use for free
without compromising your human rights.
So can we create technologies
which are more compatible with human
rights or for which we have to pay?
I think to me that that is the way to
go forward in my view.
But I'm happy to take more questions.
Comes back to the question that, um,
Upa asked at the very start,
which I think kind of pushes us to
consider the limits of a business
and human rights agenda. He says.
Do you think that high tech is
inherently a threat to human rights?
Or perhaps is the failure of tech
businesses in a simulating human rights
norms and operation of the issue?
I think it a pushes us to ask,
is it- would it fix the problem?
If companies adopted human rights norms?
Or is there something more
Usha, looks like you have a view about that.
Yeah, I've got a very strong
view about this, Shelley.
See, if you look at the business and human
rights discourse over the past 50 years,
We find that every time
it is like international law
and standards have to be made
so that businesses are comfortable with it,
they're easy with it, that it doesn't
really incommode them too much and we
have to take their permission to make any
law that will bind them in any kind of way.
it shouldn't bind them at all,
it will just be a code of conduct.
And if they breach it,
you know they'll say sorry sometimes,
or you know they may not say
they may not acknowledge you.
That's the kind of culture from which
we come when it comes to companies.
Companies have never allowed
themselves to be bound by the law,
and they don't want laws that are being made.
it's a classic kind of thing where
they say you know it's so broad
and it's so wide that we can't
understand what you're saying.
Tell us precisely what you want us to do,
and then we'll think about it -
like it's a favor to the world
community that they will,
you know, they will conform to some norms,
so I think this idea
that we can work with with the companies
and that they will be then following
human rights, is like asking for a
lot because actually like I'm saying
a while ago, companies bank on certain
rights being taken out
of the human rights discourse.
Take the case of identity.
it's something I've worked
on for a while now,
and they brought in an identity
project into India where they said
everyone give your biometrics,
give your, give all your information and
you know we produce this identity. Then
World Bank adopts these kinds of models,
takes on board the person who was in
charge of the identity project in India,
which is causing huge problems for us.
And then makes that a condition
for every kind of grant that
they give to any country,
anywhere in the world.
Now this identity project
is a step after digitization,
you have an ID project and then
you have the datafication of
the person. The idea of
you know, it's absurd,
but voluntary, they said.
You can come and take it, if you want.
You can enroll if you want.
It was just a step.
It's not even a hop and step,
it was just a step away to saying no,
it is mandatory if you don't get it.
So from being inclusive, it becomes
'I'll exclude you from all systems
unless you're going to be in on this'.
So we've had and you have a technology major
who's doing this because he's looking,
the whole world is now looking, at
the possibility of going cashless.
What is cashless? Cashless is
about leaving digital footprints.
Cashless is about having handing over control
entirely because if you don't eat with cash,
you have some control over,
you know, how much you have and
who can take it away from you.
You don't have any control at
all when it's digital.
And then they talk about presenceless.
It's an extraordinary phenomenon.
You know we have faceless income tax,
And then we have presenceless.
So it's cashless, paperless, presenceless.
Every one of which is
whittling down our rights.
I just want to say one more thing,
which is that, you know, the way
human rights is being talked about
now, and after in the technology
age is being talked about even
more in these terms, is to say
that your human rights end where
the other persons begin.
So you have to give up your human-
Now we've gone one step further and said
you have to give up your human rights
to the community.
So the individual right exists so that
you can contribute to the community.
And why has this become important?
Because they need our personal
data as the resource which will go
towards increasing GDP and difficulties.
And only corporations can do that,
And it's not only technology majors.
Technology majors of you know Amazon
and Google and Microsoft and whatever
produce problems of monopoly.
And you know,
potential global control in a sense.
But every technology provider
and every technology company has
been taught these ambitions.
And whittling down, so the idea of innovation.
It's very clear they say we can't
innovate if there are rules.
So we will innovate and then we create
the rules to fit the innovation.
This is where we are poised, so you
know if the fight back isn't immediate,
uh, it's- you can't tame these corporations.
I mean, if you're looking to tame them,
I think that's not going to happen.
We have to shut them down.
I honestly I'm a believer that we
need to do away with social media.
The kind of poison it's producing it,
it gives us a little advantage
somewhere, and makes- uses that as an
argument for continuing something
that has become vicious and poisoned
entire humanity. I think, you know.
So when I say we need, and I agree
with you Surya, when you say
we needed you imagination.
But I think it's also important
to imagine the unimaginable.
Discussions on working in diverse groups and ensuring dignity and respect for individuals and workers in business, negotiation, collaboration and government bodies.
Discussions on working in diverse groups and ensuring dignity and respect for individuals and workers in business, negotiation, collaboration and government bodies.
Hi Hi Hi Shelley! How are you?
Hi Michelle, I can see you're there
but just your
logo, thanks for
starting the meeting for us.
So, it's so nice - oh
Michelle no need to start recording yet,
I think just record a bit later.
So long since I've seen you khru-Poonsap!
Oh yes, yes yes. How are you?
How is the situation on COVID-19
in your country?
Yeah, it's very good.
We had a very long lockdown last last year.
And it managed to bring the cases down
to zero again in Melbourne and they
were already zero in the other states.
And now we're really just,
living a normal life.
OK OK OK, but yeah it's not OK in Thailand.
We have a the second wave
similar to December up to now.
Uh, in fact it's not not locked down,
but, uh, we have to.
Be careful all the time, right?
Is everybody wearing masks everywhere?
Yeah yeah, yeah yeah,
But there's some still,
in the Migrant workers
In the one province there
are lots of migrant workers,
but they stay in the same room,
so it's not easy also to control that.
Shelley, can I ask you one thing?
The first question,
what you mean by the first question?
The first one? Yes.
Ah, just it's about how good you are at
being a leader and bringing people together.
And the reason I suggested you as the
speaker for this session, is because
you know I watched how good you are
at bringing together people who are
from different organisations they may
be from business, or they're workers and
they don't have the same perspective,
but somehow you bring them together.
That's the question, is how do you bring
people together with different interests,
like thinking about the work
that we did together.
The people that you bought together
had such different interests,
but you somehow have such long
relationships with them and,
you, yeah, you bring them all together.
That's my question.
Yeah, OK, OK, I try my best.
Yeah and then. The second question is,
well, you'll remember.
You said 'we must practice deep listening'
and I want to know what you meant by that.
And why you find it so important
to practice deep listening?
And then I'm also interested in,
you know, we were gonna talk about your
style of collaboration, but what do you...
Are there any other examples of people
that you see that you think of as
being really fantastic collaborators?
And what did they do differently from you?
Uh-huh, that's the third question
question number 3.
Question number 4 is.
About you know there's the work
you do in Thailand,
and obviously there's not
only one culture in Thailand,
but it's a little easier.
But when you're working across different
countries and with such different cultures,
you know, you and me
have such different
How do you do that?
And Khru-Poonsap, I'm just joining
people from the waiting room now.
So we have some new people! And as
you join, could I ask you to introduce
yourself 'cause we didn't get to
do that in the first session but we
absolutely have time for that now.
Nana, would you like to start?
Sure. Hi everyone,
my name is Nana Frishling, and I am a
final year, I would say almost
hopefully final few months,
candidate, at UNSW in Sydney
and my research focuses on
multistakeholder initiatives, and how they
regulate or don't regulate global
supply chains, and I'm really excited
to be here with all of you today.
would you like to introduce yourself next?
Sure hi, I'm Suzanne,
and I think I share a supervisor
with Nana and I'm also at UNSW,
but unfortunately I'm only in my
second year of my candidature
so a long way to go, and I'm researching
the accountability of corporations
for violations of human rights abuses
caused through international arms trade.
I'm still trying to get my elevator
pitch on it, so it's not quite good yet.
Uhm, and Okwudili, I hadn't got to
really meet you in the last session,
so it's great to meet you now.
Please introduce yourself.
Alright, good afternoon everyone.
My name is Okwudili Onyenwee,
I am from City University of Hong Kong.
I'm currently in my second year and
my focus is on the accountability of
multinational oil companies in Nigeria,
most especially for their activities of
gas flaring and how they can positively,
you know, contribute
in terms of taking,
Uh, in terms of, you know,
taking positive actions by
you know, kind of economic restoration,
restoration to alleviate the
harms that they have committed
to the victims within the region.
Alright, thank you very much.
Thank you, now is it Dalilah or Delilah?
Hi Shelly and yeah,
I'm Dalilah but it's also fine if
you call me Delilah, it's all good.
I was just concerned because under
two minutes before we should start
and you had started already.
Or is it correct? We haven't.
We just ask everybody to introduce
themselves as they joined. Yeah, OK great.
We're running early so we have time for it.
great thank you, I'm not worried anymore.
So I'm doing my PhD at Wollongong University
and however right now I'm in Palestine.
I'm accompanying my husband,
who is a peace worker.
Generally, I'm from Germany and Greece,
and my PhD thesis is about applying
the nonviolent action framework
to multinational corporations,
Thank you, wonderful thank you. Uh, Jasmine.
Or are you Yasmin or you Jasmine?
I say Jasmine,
but respond to Yasmin.
Could you introduce yourself?
Sure, I'm Jasmine.
Good afternoon slash
I guess morning for me.
I'm based in Sweden doing a PhD
at the University of Gothenburg,
where my PhD looks at the ethical
and moral obligations of lawyers
with regards to ethical impacts
and business human rights concerns.
I decided since khru-Poonsap
doesn't know any of you, and I haven't
got to hear your introductions yet,
I thought I would ask you as you
joined to introduce yourselves.
Then we all know each other a
little bit and then I'll introduce
the session. Andy!
Would you like to introduce yourself?
So hi everyone,
I'm a fourth year, just
starting my 4th year PhD at UNSW.
I'm being supervised by Justine Nolan,
and Chris Michaelson.
I'm looking at some of the factors
that lead corporations to engage with
rights norms and I'm focused
within the extraction industry in South America.
Great thank you. Is it FiFi, is
that how you pronounce your name?
You can see your unmuted now if you
could come it's FiFi or FeiFei.
Could you introduce yourself now?
Not sure if you can hear me,
so I'm going to move on to Zetty,
Would you introduce yourself?
Hi, I'm sorry I've just missed that bit, so
I'm not sure what else was supposed to say.
Everybody is just saying their name,
where they're from, and just a quick
sentence about what they're working on.
Hi, I'm Zetty. I'm from Sydney and I'm a
PhD student with the University of Sydney.
My research looks at modern slavery
and social movements, and how social
movements contributed to the passing of
modern slavery legislation in Australia.
Wonderful. Ruchika, NOTE Confidence: 0.84254949
you made it, well done.
Hey yeah, kindly thank you.
Yeah I'm Ruchika I'm from India.
I'm working on the interface between patents
and competition law and human rights.
I'm doing my PhD from the National University
of Juridical Sciences in Calcutta, India.
we haven't heard from you yet
have we? No, hi everybody, Fiona.
I'm a part-time candidate at UWA.
My day jobs at UNSW in Sydney, and
I'm working on how transnational
advocacy networks engage with
Freedom of Information and rights
around access to information,
particularly in terms of the the digital era.
Hi, my name is Sara.
Sorry for dropping in slightly late.
I'm a PhD candidate at RMIT university
and I am doing my research on women
garment workers in Myanmar which is
particularly interesting at the moment.
Thank you. And, Lee-Anne.
Good afternoon, my name is Lee-Anne Sim.
I'm at the Australian National University.
My PhD is looking at
how can we think about addressing some
of the institutional barriers to using
the financial system to promote social
goals, such as socioeconomic human rights.
Wonderful, I think that's everyone.
Is there anyone that I missed?
June, I missed you sorry!
It's OK. Hello everyone, my name is June
actually, I'm doing the second PhD hopefully
with the first one at La Trobe University,
and this one is just
my leisure activity.
I'm looking at the transition of skilled
migrants from non-English speaking
background countries to Australia.
So basically people often look at
or see migrants as a problem.
I want to look at them as human being,
as someone the same like others.
So I look at the bright side, why
they can't get over the struggles and
enter the labor market.
Wonderful, is there anyone else that I missed?
Alright, well thank you everybody
for joining this session.
I am really,
really happy that we're
running it and I am so thrilled
to have khru-Poonsap with us today.
And all of you can read her official
biography on the website and you
would have been able to see that now,
the RMIT Business and Human Rights website.
If you click onto events and you
click on to the symposium, you
can see all of the biographies
But I wanted to tell you my own personal
reason that I asked khru-Poonsap to
come and speak to you all today.
So I... About three years ago
khru-Poonsap,correct me if I'm wrong,
I was asked by the
International Labour Organization to go to Thailand
to work with HomeNet, who khru-Poonsap leads,
and the Thai Department
of Labor Protection,
which is part of the Ministry of
Labor to advise them about how to
implement UM labor laws
that had already been passed.
Laws that have been passed to protect
home based workers, so vulnerable workers
in complex supply chains within Thailand.
And I was fortunate enough to come to
meet khru-Poonsap in that process.
And I watched her incredible skill
at bringing together really so many
people for this really long process of
action research that we carried out.
People with very diverse
interests and normally kind of,
I would say, conflicting interests
from business, from government,
people who don't necessarily agree,
For this two year ride, where we went
together and we visited the homes
of workers. And I really felt
that it was because of khru-Poonsap
that the process worked.
And at times I was so frustrated personally,
and she kind of guided us through
bringing together these- making
people who weren't necessarily
who you would imagine to be allies.
But through the kind of gentleness of
her personality and allowing them to
find a way to act as allies in this
process of improving the conditions
of vulnerable and precarious workers.
So, that's why I invited her.
I've really never seen anyone
bring together people in that way
to create alliances. And as
well as the work
that I've seen her do within Thailand,
I'm also aware of the work
that she does internationally,
and bringing together groups who
work on organizing home workers
from around the world.
But in particular from
across HomeNet Asia.
So that was the reason for inviting her,
and I'm so thrilled to see her
because I haven't been in Thailand
now I'm working with her, and the other
women from HomeNet for over a year.
So what we're going to do
is have a conversation.
I'm gonna ask her some questions, and
then I'm going to invite you to ask
whatever questions you like. And you
should feel free that just as questions
come to you to write them in the chat.
I'm really fine with that.
Or you can hold on to them and
I'll call on you at the the end,
depending on how much time we have.
So I wanted to start, khru-Poonsap,
by just repeating what a skilled
and astute collaborator you are and
how ingenious you are at leading a
large network of informal workers.
I don't know what how many workers
are now part of your organization,
but I know it was in the thousands,
the last time I I saw you.
So I wanted to ask you, what's your
number one most important piece of
advice about how to bring together
people with different interests
around a single course, and how to
keep motivating them to be there,
because I see the way that you kind
of hold people together over many,
Khru-Poonsap, I can't hear you right now.
I wonder what happened?
No, I didn't- Ah there we go, great.
Yeah, Shelley, thank you very much.
In fact, Shelly is really good in this,
not me. She is very good to work
with people, and she also teach me.
By her practice to work with the people,
uh, in fact,
I would like to have a short
introduction of myself.
I work with Foundation for Labour and
Employment Promotion for HomeNet Thailand.
We organize informal workers in Thailand,
especially home-based workers,
street vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers.
Nowadays we also organize, like, beauticians
and massage service workers.
And there are more than 20,000 come together
at the Federation of Informal Workers.
Um, from Shelley's question,
I think that I myself,
I'm not the study much,
but I work a long time with the
workers for more than 30 years.
I work with them.
So what I want to say is a simple thing.
That, we practice
to work together because, as you know,
there are a variety, or there are different persons,
we also organize and at the same time
we try to do a lot of policy advocacy.
So during working on policy
advocacy, you need to
sometimes you need to collaborate,
you NEED to collaborate
with the government at the same time
as some issue you need to against.
So I think,
from Shelley's question, uh,
I would say that,
for me myself, NOTE Confidence: 0.51654947
the expectation is very
important because everyone
works on doing their duty, so
they have their agenda to work.
But they are in different sectors,
in different environments.
Someone acts as a government officer,
someone as an NGO, someone acts as the workers.
So they have different knowledge
We need to respect their knowledge
I really saw -
really saw you doing that,
I really saw the respect that
you treated everybody with,
regardless of whether they were
at the time of a negotiation,
disagreeing with us completely or
whether they were a worker who was
really desperate and asking for our help.
I saw the way that you treated
people with respect and,
what a difference it made in
their willingness to listen and their
willingness to engage because of the
respect that you showed them.
I remember one time we were
in a meeting with the director
from a government body,
I'm not gonna say which one.
And he was talking and talking, and he
was telling us in some detail his
problems and disagreements with the
joint work that we were conducting.
And I came out of that meeting...
angry and really frustrated, and you said
to me, 'we must practice deep listening'.
And I wanted to ask you,
'cause I didn't ask you at the time.
I wanted to ask you, what did you mean?
When you said 'we must practice
Khru-Poonsap, I think you're muted again.
I think deep listening mean that you
listen with intention. Listen to them
with intention, this means that you can hear
the message that they want to send to you.
They want to talk to you.
Then you can understand their limitation
or understand their perspective clearly.
Nowaday people didn't listen to each other,
so we try to send our messages,
but we didn't like to receive
the message that others tried to inform you.
I think that in terms of
everyone, we are in different
situations so we may have a
different way of thinking, and
different perspectives so,
how can you understand them?
You need to listen,
carefully listen with intention.
This is - I know sometime like I also
get angry like Shelley said.
But because maybe they spend a lot of time.
in the beginning we need to show them that
we listen to what they want to talk to us.
After you've done the deep listening,
then what next?
I think understanding is
the most important.
If we understand each other,
maybe it's a long message,
but the main message
is only some words,
the main message.
But if you understand it
clearly, then you can understand
their limitation or their objective.
Then you can try
to find a way to match with
their objective, with
their need, that they
want to work with us something
Or if they are misunderstanding
what we want to tell them
and they tell us all this,
and when we understand him clearly,
we understand them clearly.
It means that you can explain,
or you can clarify that maybe he make a
misunderstanding on what we want to say.
So listening and really,
deeply listening, on what he talked
to us is really important.
I really noticed that some people,
when they're organizing and when they're
mapping out their collaborations and
trying to work out who their allies are,
they only work with people that they
know already have the same view as them,
but you seem to be able to find people
who maybe only have this much overlap,
and I was wondering how you do that and
therefore is do you think that's the key
to bring together diverse networks of people?
Uh, we have to accept this.
People are diverse and
they have different ways of thinking.
And if we need collaboration,
if we need cooperation,
I think that nowadays it's
proven that co-operation is the key.
If you can work with the people
who have different ideas,
this is the most important thing because,
like when you work with the government,
you want to change the government.
You want to change the policy.
You need to work with them.
If you always blame if you always disagree,
and are against them all the time,
how can you build co-operation?
So is very important that
we need to try to find
anything that you have that's the same,
the same ideas, the same views and at the
same time in terms of organizing.
We work a lot on organizing.
organizing is the most difficult part.
When you work or try
to push the workers demand.
Organizing means that the workers
have to tell their needs
and their problem by their own.
They have to raise voice for themselves,
but they are different, so we will
list down that if you try to organize,
there are people who have the same idea,
so it's not difficult.
It takes a short time to work with them,
and there are some people who
are likely to understand.
So we spend more time to work with
them, and the first one is the person
who is against - and this takes a long time.
So we we have to try to find
a way to approach them.
This is what, uh,
we work in, in terms of organizing
and at the same time,
if you want to change the government,
if you want to push in terms
of policy advocacy,
you need to have allies.
So you need to find a way to
co-orporate to, uh,
co-ordinate with others.
So this is, I think it's really
important nowadays that we come together
and try to help each other to push.
in the world there will be a gap.
The social gap will be very high.
How can we narrow this gap?
So we have to come together.
This is my belief on this.
I think one of the things that amazed
me when I was watching you is that
you have a way of listening and
collaborating without ever giving
up the integrity of your own beliefs
or without ever giving up on that.
on your kind of core mission of
representing workers interests
and organizing workers interests,
and that's really what was amazing for me.
talked a bit about how you collaborate
and I wanted to ask you
what are different styles that
you've seen or
what else have you seen that's been
effective in your many years
as a worker organizer?
I'm not clear on your question, Shelley.
I might come back to it then, and
ask my next question which is about,
'cause I think it might be relevant.
So we talked about the work that you do
within Thailand, and I wanted to ask you -
I know you work internationally and
you collaborate with many
allies and bring together HomeNet Asia,
which is, ah, home-worker
organizations across Asia and
then also you work with
Wego, so you work across the world.
How do you manage that?
How do you find energy for that,
and why is it important?
It's very important for the small person, for
the wonderful person like informal worker,
you know if you want to change
their well-being, the way that the
business and government treat
them, because they are invisible.
And even though they have a,
like, uh, in terms of number,
informal workers in Thailand is more.
It's about two-thirds of the workers against
but the government has no policy on that.
So you have to come together.
This is very,
very important and in terms of the
international, you also have to come together.
We have to have unity,
otherwise you cannot fight
for your right. So in terms of HomeNet,
we are part of the core network.
We are part of the Wego members.
Right now, we try to-
We have a working committee that we
try to form HomeNet International
to work together, uh,
in terms of international policy.
This is very important and in terms of
HomeNet International, you have
to work with the
Home-based worker in different
regions like South Asia,
Latin America, Africa.
In African countries,
we are quite different.
You know, like in terms of Latin America,
you can see that they also fight.
At the same time,
the home workers, home-based workers
in African countries,
they are still not so organized.
South Asia has
different characters, huh?
Southeast Asia is another character,
and because we are under different circumstances,
we form our groups differently.
Some trade unions lie in South Africa,
and in Latin America they would
talk about trade union in South Africa.
they also talk about trade union,
but in Southeast Asia because of the
labor laws in our country are not so
strong, and we are not interested much
because we are from agricultural countries,
So even though we are changing, but, uh,
we aren't so smart on labour issues,
so we are quite quiet
in terms of trade union.
But if you want to come in as
how do you manage this difference?
This is very important, so we try to
start with the Constitution, you know.
A Constitution that can cover
everyone in this organization.
Normally we must,
organize or set up, like in Thailand,
we set up the organization first.
Then the organization
develops the Constitution,
rules or regulations. But uh,
in terms of international,
we started with the Constitution first.
That Constitution will cover others,
and then we form the organization.
And during discussion on constitution,
we have a lot to exchange
and share in differences.
So we try to develop the Constitution
that can cover everybody like
this, and I'm pleased to say that
we will launch the virtual
we will have virtual forums on
HomeNet International on this one
on February 23rd and 24th.
You're welcome to join.
Further discussion on understanding BHR research impact and connecting BHR research with others
Further discussion on understanding BHR research impact and connecting BHR research with others
So all of you, I'm sure, know Justine's work,
and you've been able to read her biography,
but what might not be apparent from
that is the large number of government
committees that Justine sits on, has sat on,
and the incredible influence that
she has as an academic on policy.
We wish she had more influence, but,
certainly she's a
really powerful advocate
around business and human rights.
So it's a real pleasure to
have her present to you. Justine,
how do you want to do this?
How I well, I thought following your lead,
I might speak,
give an introduction to my own background,
and then I really just wanted
to cover two questions.
One is, you know,
what do you think your research is for?
What's the purpose of your research?
And the second one is,
how do you connect your research with others?
Um, which should take us no more than 15 minutes?
And then we could have questions
Does that work with you?
Wonderful, over to you.
so in terms of my background, and
I think that's probably partly why
I've ended up in the way, in terms of
being quite a practical researcher,
is that half of my career has been
spent not working in academia,
so like Jeff,
sort of, I had a career before here
and I started off out of law school as
a corporate lawyer in a big firm in Sydney.
Didn't last there that long,
but then I went to a public
interest Community legal center.
After that, I went to Graduate
School in Berkeley and I started
to think more about what
direction I wanted to head in.
And then after that I got a job
with an international human rights
organization in the United States, and I
ended up staying there for about eight years.
And then it was only when I came
back to Australia, about 15 years ago,
that I entered academia. And you know,
to be fair,
when I look at all of your resumes
and CVS and your skills,
I wouldn't get a job if I was
competing against you guys now.
15 years ago it was a better time
to be in the market for academia,
so I'm glad you're not my competition.
I had realized that when I was
coming back to Australia that
what I wanted to do was working human rights,
but I didn't want -
I hate the fund raising side of
things, and a lot of the smaller
organizations I looked at in Australia,
you had to spend so much time
raising money, because they were so
small and always focused on how
they're gonna fund the next project.
The people that I knew in Australia
that we're doing some really
interesting human rights work
were actually academics, and they
were doing a lot of this other,
you know, this other work on the side.
So when I was working for the human
rights organization in US,
I got a job basically
setting up their business and human
rights program, and so this was in 1998.
The field didn't really exist
as such, there were probably only
about 5 to 10 people around the
world actively working in that
niche, and we all knew each other.
And there wasn't really an -
I wouldn't say there was a strong
academic field at all in that
area at that time.
And I came into the organization to
basically look at apparel companies
and their manufacturing supply chains.
So the really big brands like Nike,
and Reebok, and Adidas, and Gap, and
Levi's, and how they were dealing
with their supply chains.
So I started to work
with those companies through the NGO
and that led into, around that time,
we saw the development of the very first
sort of iteration of the UN Norms document.
And so I was working on that
document as a sort of human
rights lawyer for an NGO.
And so I sort of was having a dabble,
I guess, in academia by looking at that,
but very much from an NGO perspective.
But I knew that by the time I
finished that job that that was
the field I wanted to stay in,
I found the area of interest.
So when I came back to Sydney and
managed to get a job at UNSW and
I had just the good luck,
that basically they needed human rights person.
And I could
teach what I want and designed
a new class around business and
human rights, which we offered
I think, for the first time in 2004.
So I was very lucky, in that I sort
of have always managed to be able
to teach and research in my field.
And now I've taken over the role
of Director of the Australian
Human Rights Institute.
Just, you know,
for about a minute since last week.
So now I'm looking at how again very much,
it's a research institute at the university,
but what we're interested in
is applied research,
so how that, you know, practical
works in the field.
So that's my sort of background
and that probably explains why
I tend not to be a
strong theoretical lawyer.
I'm interested in 'what are the problems',
'how do we approach them from
quite a practical sense?' with it.
So the question is,
Shelly sort of said the session was on
how do you apply your research, and how do
you impact policy reform and social policy?
I guess I had two questions for you
to think about - and the first one was,
when you think about your
research that you're doing,
which you're doing now with your PhD -
what do you think about WHY you're doing it?
What's it for? What's your end
goal other than to get your PhD?
Is it something that you would like
to use and translate to basically
take law in a different direction?
Like develop, you know, what the
thinking is around this subject,
so a more
purely academic purpose.
Or is it also something that you
would like to perhaps use for that,
but then move into say 'I actually
want to change the way business
works' or 'I want to change the way
government thinks about this'.
So there's sort of a joint purpose
for what you do.
And with the work I've been doing,
I think I would divide how I've
thought about impact in my own work.
It started very much with a very
international focus, and started from
the early days of, particularly UN Norms
developed, that it was all you know,
and I was living overseas,
so it was all internationally
focused and it was the time the UN
was starting to really dip its toe
into this area for the first time.
And it's only much more recently
that I've taken a national focus,
and that I've ended up, you know,
with talking to governments,
the Australian Government
in particular about
how they approach business
and human rights issues.
So for me I started to think about
'who's my target', and initially my target
was mostly the civil society sector.
So they were the groups I was
most closely connected from my
previous job, and they were the
ones I started working with early.
So I worked with groups like the ESC I met,
which is like a a group based in US
but has tentacles all around the world.
All these you know, economic,
social and cultural rights NGOs.
I started working in the early days
With ICAR, The International Corporate
And when I say working with, what
I meant was that sometimes I would
be formally involved in a project.
Sometimes I might just be trying
to write a blog for them,
or I might be giving a training for them.
So I was starting to try and think
about how do I get to connect,
particularly in my initial focus
with civil society.
And so it was through other groups
that I either got an introduction to,
I already had an existing relationship with,
that I started to do little bits
and pieces of work which would
translate my own research into
something that was useful for them.
And then later in my career I
would develop those relationships.
So I might write a paper for them,
or I might help them with strategy.
Or I might, you know,
be involved in a formerly funded
project that they've got.
But my initial target was very much
expanding my civil society connections,
and at the same time I was very
interested in business because
in this particular field I thought
unless I talked to and convinced
business to change the way they think,
we're never going to get anywhere.
We could have government policy,
we could have, you know, naming
and shaming, we can have reform.
But I need to figure out how to get
access to business. And in the early
days when I was working for an NGO,
I had that access because I was a member
around the table that was sitting with
them talking about what they should
talk about with their supply chains.
And I had that access through the
NGO I was working for. And later
when I wasn't working for an NGO,
sometimes I got that access through
other NGO's, or I started to have
pre-built relationships with some
businesses in relation to that.
And businesses like to talk to you
when they hear of you from someone else,
or they see something that you're
speaking at, and they're much more
interested in the sort of the oral
and the visible, rather than your
20,000 things that you've written.
They tend to, you know,
react more to a visceral,
have more of a visceral reaction.
And then finally my third stage was
getting connections with government, and
that came partly because of seniority.
I think by that stage in my career,
I had spoken at a lot of things,
I'd published, and it was
around the same time the Australian
Government was starting to develop,
you know, thinking around business
and human rights and new laws.
So I managed to
basically, you know,
parlay that relationship
into formal committee
membership and et cetera.
And so, government tends to be more
than reaching out to you a bit,
but at the same time early on
when I was working in this area,
I did reach out to certain
members of government.
I knew to basically say,
'hey, you know,
I know you're interested in this,
This is what I've written recently.',
because there are always those
intellectual policy people in
government who want support for
their work and what they're doing.
So that was sort of in a very general
sense how I started to think about about
those relationships, and the question
which merged into that one was also you know,
how do you make these connections?
And for me it was a combination of measures.
One I think it was really important to me was
finding someone, particularly in academia,
who acted as a,
even an informal mentor forming.
But it was 'a someone', and for
me that was David Kinley,
who is at the University of Sydney.
We knew each other through our, well,
going way back when he was at ANU,
but then when I was working
with an NGO in the US,
we would often connect through my
work because he was interested in
this field. And then when I became an
academic and I was obviously then a
much more junior academic than him,
he'd been in the field for a
very long time. He invited me to co-author
papers with him, and that way that helped
build up a publishing track record of
places that wouldn't necessarily always
just want me as a junior academic,
but would invite him and then
he would bring me along
And he was always very helpful
If there was someone
that was that was useful,
but he also definitely gave me
a leg up in the early days,
particularly at publishing.
And I think an academic mentor,
whether formal or informal or
someone you can bounce ideas off,
or someone who can give you
introductions, is really useful,
and they don't have to be
at your own university.
but it might be someone you know
around the world,
and to be honest,
most people -
If someone came to them and said
'I'm just starting in this field,
I'd really love your guidance
and I'd love your help',
Most people in this field
particularly would be quite honored,
and I find in the human rights
field in particular,
it's all about who you know and
connections and people realize
that's how other people get
ahead andget jobs.
And and most people are very,
very helpful with it.
So I think that was a useful for me to
start to figure out how to make connections.
The other thing that academics
don't often push is teaching.
I have always loved teaching, and
I've found teaching a real asset
because you meet such interesting
people who are the students.
So sometimes it's at undergraduate level,
sometimes it's at postgraduate level,
but several of the relationships that
I've built over time have been with
students and now I have students in you know,
senior positions at the UN,
UN Women in New York,
in other places,
in other companies around the
place, and the government here.
And I would never have known
those people other than having that
teaching relationship and being
open to listening to their career
and helping them with their career.
But in the end,
you know they also help me now.
teaching can often be looked
at as such a nuisance,
but particularly when it's hopefully
somewhat within your field,
you always should be open to the mind
that the people you're meeting now
are really gonna be maybe in your
life 10 years from now and be really,
really helpful to both of you
in that that relationship.
The other thing I would say in
terms of connections, is that
often as a junior academic you're
pushed into conferences,
and 'what should I do?',
and 'I need to get to conferences' and
you do need to get to conferences,
but I think there's a value in
being quite targeted with the
conferences that you do.
And also a mix of doing the academic
conferences, where you may get a
paper and, you know, publish that.
But also things like the UN Forum that
the UN Working Group runs, because that is
this massive group of 2,000 to 3,000 people
networking, and that word is so you know,
awful in so many ways.
And I always get so daunted by the
idea of thinking about networking.
And if you think more about
someone introducing you to someone
who can have a chat,
it becomes much less formidable about that.
And so it's also thinking about.
where are there going to be pockets
of people who are in my field,
and they may not be at all academics.
They might be, you know,
someone from an accounting firm,
a consulting firm, a law firm,
or you know,
the infrastructure firm,
along with civil society,
then try and use those opportunities to
meet people to do with that.
And I guess my other fourth connection was
what I mentioned earlier was that, at
times I've proactively reached out.
So when I publish something, then I might
occasionally, or I should always, send
that to someone and basically with a
link or with a copy of the paper and say,
I see you're interested in this'.
And you know,
say that it's someone in industry
and I've just written a paper on
auditing or something like that.
I'll say 'this is a pretty technical paper,
but here are my three takeaways
from this that I think might
be relevant to Westpac' etc.
And those types of things, you
might never hear back from them,
but there's targeted,
almost marketing of yourself,
which I think is useful because the key to
the really good academics is duplication.
It's like we say the same thing all
the time in three different ways.
Three slightly different ways,
so you write a research paper where
you're trying to get published
in a traditional academic,
you know, circle and 20.5 people
read that paper,
but you had that paper.
And then you think,
how can I use this paper that it
might be relevant to an NGO Group, or
a business group or an industry group.
And there might be a shorter blog
that you think 'is the Business
and Human Rights Resource Center
interested in publishing
this blog?' or someone else like that,
and they often are,you know.
They're always looking
for those sorts of inputs.
Or is there some, you know, big
newsletter like Thomson Foundation
or somewhere like that?
That would be interested in a
short piece I have, or try and get
something in the conversation which
is that hybrid between academic
and the real world?
And then your research that you did
get another outlet, and so you
should always think about when you
write a piece, that you basically
use it for more than one purpose.
in the the really brilliant
academics you know,
just really just reshape that
article and then publish it somewhere
else with three new thoughts.
But you know, 'cause everybody is sort of
doing that in in a slightly different way,
but for you, when you're thinking about
social impact, you have to think about
who is your target audience, and at
the start it might be quite disparate.
It might be civil society,
but then you think drill down
in my particular area,
say socially responsible investing who
are the two or three key NGO's that work
on this issue, and that's who you send it to. NOTE Confidence: 0.930719130625
So you sort of don't want this mass marketing
in a way, you want to try and target it,
and if it's a particular area that
you know people are interested in,
then think OK,
'Well who in business might
be interested in that?'.
So they're my general thoughts
and I'm conscious of the time,
so let me stop there and have a discussion.
And obviously Shelley and Surya,
obviously their work is so focused on
social impact and legal reform as well,
'cause they both take a very
pragmatic approach to academia,
so I'm sure all three of us can jump
in with discussion or questions.
Great, thank you so much.
I'm going to start
with a question, and then
I'll turn to other questions
so feel free to just use,
you know, the hand up function.
If you're feeling shy write it in the
chat, but otherwise speak up.
I wanted to ask; what the tensions
are for you in terms of being
on government committees or,
have there ever been times when
it's felt restrictive
to be playing that role?
Yeah, I think particularly in government
it can be tricky,
and Surya would tread
this line very finely with his work
with the UN. And he's more of a
diplomat than me, so he can handle it better.
I think that in my career, and
often government committees
come later in your career,
it's harder to do that earlier on and,
and so I think by that stage they
might know what they're getting.
in terms of who of who they
are appointing to a role.
But I always tend to think about why am I on,
why they put me on this committee,
and usually my role on the committee
is often to be a bit more of a
disruptor. Because if they want a committee
just to go through and smooth,
go through smoothly,
then they're not going to appoint me
to that committee.
And so, at the same time,
while it can be quite
frustrating - and disruptive,
doesn't mean like, you know,
yelling at everybody and
walking out of the room -
it's thinking about 'OK, they're,
you know, I can get them to this point,
and I want to get them up here'.
And maybe, you know,
somewhere in the middle
is a meeting point.
So I might start to say,
you know you've said that,
but here are all the reasons why
that's not going to work'.
And then they push back, and you try
and have a rational discussion.
But I think
there is always a bit of a tension
with that, and there's probably
a point to where you think
'Am I on here and it's serving no purpose?'.
And so, at this stage of my
career I had the luxury then
of getting off that committee.
But early in your career,
you don't really have that luxury because
you want to build your career,
build your brand around that.
But I think you have to basically
hold your own personal line about
thinking about why they put me on here,
it's obviously for some critique
or some rational discussion.
They're clearly not going
to do everything I say,
but are there people in the
room that I think it's worth,
putting this out. And the classic
example right now is the
Australian Government's Modern
Slavery Expert Advisory Group.
So the story behind that group was that
they called for applications from,
you know, everybody who could be on it.
And the way that we
thought that they would do it, as they've
done it in the past, is they would have a
selection of people from civil society,
business and academia in this small
group of like 12 people or whatever.
The government decided really
that they just really wanted business
and some other people there.
A couple of academics on it, and not
really I would say, civil society rep.
And so then we you know,
along with Shelley,
we sort of created some drama about.
That's not a great idea if you were trying
to have a multi stakeholder conversation,
you need to have everybody on it.
And so then I'm now on the committee.
And literally on that committee there'd be,
you know, some of the original
members don't say anything,
you know. The the business sits
there and sort of very happy to
see what the government set, and
all the new people who are mostly
in civil society and academics, tend to
be a bit more of the disruptors.
And we're not achieving, you know,
I'm not going to ever take them
in a direction that I fully want,
but I feel like there's people on that
call that it's valuable to hear what we say,
that that we have this argument,
And it's sort of pretty new,
so I think
in a few months after a
few more meetings we can reassess
to see is it worth our time or not?
But there is that fine line I think in these.
Discussions on activism and advocacy for worker solidarity, economic freedom and worker safety in India by Kalpona Akter.
Discussion on strengthening obligations for international human rights impacted by business activity using non-regulatory systems by Kate MacDonald
Discussions on activism and advocacy for worker solidarity, economic freedom and worker safety in India by Kalpona Akter.
Discussion on strengthening obligations for international human rights impacted by business activity using non-regulatory systems by Kate MacDonald
Welcome everybody to the second
thought leader series for business
and human Rights doctoral symposium.
Today we are very,
very happy to be joined by Kalpona Akter,
who's in Dhaka in Bangladesh and also
Kate McDonald who is here in Melbourne.
Before we start, I would like to
pay my respects to the Wurrundjuri
People of the Kulin nation,
on whose land I'm sitting and pay
my respects to their elders, past,
present and emerging and to acknowledge that
this land was never ceded by them.
So I'll like to start by introducing
our guests for this evening.
Well, this evening in Melbourne,
Um, so we have Kalpona Akter
will speak first.
She is an executive director of the
Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity.
She campaigns for worker safety,
fair wages and the right to join
and organize in labor unions.
She's been a key player in urging
Western brands to sign onto the Bangladesh
fire and building safety accord
following the Rana Plaza disaster in
2013, and her US Congress testimony
helped frame legislation against
slave labor conditions for clothing.
She began working herself in
garment factories at the age of 12.
And was a troublemaker in the factory
starting to organize and unionize,
and since 2000 she's devoted
herself to trade unionism, well,
earlier than that I think,
to train trade unionism and
activism for textile and garment workers.
Kalpona has been instrumental in
engaging stakeholders from UN agencies
to brands like Inditex and H&M, to
demand respect for garment workers.
Kalpona was awarded the
Human Rights Watch Allison Des Forges Award
for extraordinary activism,
and I can attest to the fact that
she is an extraordinary activist.
We also are very pleased to have
this evening, Kate MacDonald.
Kate is an Australian Research Council
future fellow and a faculty member
at the University of Melbourne
School of Social and Political Sciences.
Kate's research focuses on transnational
governance and accountability systems,
especially in relation to transnational
business regulation and accountability
in the International Development sector.
She's conducted highly influential
research and consultancy
work for a range of Australian
and international organizations,
including the Forest Stewardship Council,
Amnesty International, ActionAid,
Oxfam and the UK's Corporate
She is currently on the Advisory
Board of the Jubilee Australia
Research Foundation, so please join
me in welcoming our guest speakers.
We are going to
start first of all, with Kalpona.
Thank you, Kalpona. Yeah, thank you Daisy.
it is so wonderful to join with
all of you today and this evening.
It is afternoon here.
But it's wonderful to join.
At least you know this pandemic couldn't
stop us doing our activism that we do.
So Daisy, you know everything
Daisy said that the only one thing I liked -
I am the troublemaker.
Seriously, I am.
This is how I should do interviews.
I worked in the factory.
joined with Union.
I got fired and blacklisted which
I consider is a wrong decision has
been taken by the manufacturers.
They shouldn't have fired me.
OK. So, uh, let's,
let's take you to now Dhaka in Bangladesh.
In the garment factories where
we have around 4,000,000 workers
are working across the country.
And these are young female workers at
most 70%, at around 70%, are young women
workers working for this industry.
Most of them they came from
countryside with a big dream that
this will make their life change.
They will be seeing the economic freedom
they will be seeing the empowerment to
their voice will be heard in the family.
They will be having purchasing power, but
soon they start these jobs not necessary
that all of these dreams come true.
Because they are ending up
with a poverty wages.
The minimum wage is 8000 Taka a month,
which is equivalent to 95 U.S dollars.
And it is not one person full month cost here,
let alone if she has two children at home.
And from this amount of money
she needs to spend, or he needs
to spend, over 30% for the housing
and it's not a dream house that
where you have private bathroom,
kitchen and living room.
It's a, you know, 10 x 10
concrete room which sometimes it
doesn't have windows so these
are the workers life, you know,
that are living here.
You know, how about when
they raise their voice?
Or try to join with union? They're
traded, beaten, forced labour chores and
forced to leave the community.
This is a very common,
you know, scenario in here when
workers try to join and this is
happening because of the business
collusion with the politics.
In our Parliament, we have over
20%, or more than that now,
who own a group of garment factories.
Very important ministry like Commerce,
Shipping, Foreign Ministry.
All those you know we have the factory
lead by the factory owners.
So when our legislator is our factory owner,
our voice really begins shrinking
here, so we cannot do much.
So very common problem that our workers-
I mean, we are facing from the business
that the you know not enforcing the law,
not enforcing the branch code of conduct
in a full face on a transparent way.
The business principle are not enforced
in the factory, factories or workplaces.
The government hasn't done
you know that much to you know,
working through or improving
working conditions using
all these business principles.
So this is one way that we
have been facing for many years.
But in the same time we had
these amazing faces of women,
amazing strong workers,
who you know who for years are
fighting and trying their best to
make changes despite all the orders.
Uhm, the workers you know,
long and cheap hours
still they come
to the Union offices or center
like us to learn the law, to
learn how they can fight collectively
with their factory owners,
how they can negotiate, so
many of them got success.
But many of them still defeated.
But they fight back.
But during this, COVID has, you know,
has made many things black and white.
Like for years we saw there is a so
much promises from the business in
international as well as in national
that they do care about these workers.
They do want to improve the condition
they really think about these women,
those are making clothes for
them or making profit for them.
But what we found is all empty promises.
Soon as this pandemic
started, these businesses
like branded retailers,
either you know,
canceling the order or postponed
or denied to pay the bill that
they ought to the manufacturers.
It has, you know,
the pandemic has- it is a reality for anyone,
but the consequences is different, right?
For a brand they will be losing
a fraction of their profit,
but not the establishment.
there will be not profiting but
not losing the establishment.
But for workers it is so true and dire that
that they don't have job, means they
don't have money, and no money means no food.
It is that practical for them because
our workers are not protected with
any kind of social protection or any
kind of insurance that they will be
getting money when there is no job for them.
There is no unemployment insurance in the
country nor their Social Security program.
So when workers lost their jobs,
they were like literally in the street.
You know their landowner was
denying to keep them in their those
houses because they cannot pay it.
It was that practical.
And we have to raise the campaign
nationally as well as globally asking
or naming and shaming these businesses,
the brands, to pay the workers
the legal wages, they owe to them,
pay the bills like we have to
work with all unlikely allies,
only to get the bills so the manufacturers
can keep continue paying these workers.
And manufacturing here,
manufacturers are in here
they were extraordinary.
Since the very beginning of the pandemic,
they started out playing that if
government don't give any business,
you know, stimulation package.
They will be not able to pay the workers.
This industry here we have for three decades
and they couldn't take responsibility
for three weeks of workers salary.
This is not done.
This is not how the business
should be, locally and globally too.
So what I emphasize out of this,
that the business models need to
rephrase the big business model
need to rewrite.
It should be,
protect workers - doesn't matter what
happens because these are the
workers who made profit for
them for years, who ensured them
they have a lavish life.
When we need them most,
they just run away and left
our workers starving.
This should not be the business
model. So we need
to, you know, working in our countries, in
the production country, and in the same
time in the sourcing country as well.
So there should be a
due diligence law which makes these
branded retailers, or any business
you know, bring them in the accountable
for their whole supply chain,
not for their country only.
So at this moment during this
pandemic in midst of health crises,
we are fighting, like locally we
are fighting to saving our workers
jobs to keep organizing workers.
The workers are, you know,
in my 30 years of career experience,
I never seen that workers are in this
fear just to lodge a complaint of the retaliation.
Or you know,
the illegal activities that are
happening in their factories, or
un-enforcement of the law, or
gender based violence they've been
facing in the factory.
And workers, you know,
they're not even agreeing to even lodge the
complaints because if they do,
they were losing their jobs and they
cannot afford losing their jobs now.
So our point is that labor
movement cannot take a break.
If we do,
then many things will be pushed back.
This pandemic already pushed us
back for one decade at least,
so we cannot wait.
So we keeping fighting and here
we are organizing workers.
We are telling them that we need
to fight otherwise you know we'll
be losing what we achieved.
And in order to do that as an organization,
we also facing the retaliation and reprisal.
But we'll be dealing with that,
but we need to keep fighting and keep
continuing Universal workers voice.
this is what we are doing in here
like secure worker job and you know
increasing them to join union fighting
to eliminate gender based violence.
Campaigning nationally to get
ILO convention C192 ratified by the
government working with brands locally
as well as with manufacturers.
How business principles can secure
or make better or work places,
you know, fighting with government
for a stimulation package.
Also all the you know the money has
given for workers that should be
disseminated, and international platform.
We are giving our voice to,
you know, to pay to ask the
business, branded retailers, to take
responsibility and pay up their
workers, not to just cut and run.
Just, you know come to some
discussion that can be either a call
to action, or a grant to fund their talk.
Where we are talking to our global
union or a global, you know,
granted fund that ITC is working on
so the production country workers
at least have an unemployment
insurance as well as they are
protected with the Social Security.
So these are like fights we are
doing and before the pandemic we
were in a campaign we are about to
launch a campaign on, you know,
living wage because the living
wage is so important for us,
the jobs we have in the production country,
including in my country, the workers,
yes, we do have jobs,
but these jobs are not dignified because
we get minimum wage, not a living wage,
our voices not being heard.
The factories are not gender
based violence free.
Yes, factories are a little safer
after a code started working in here.
But a code is not anymore
in here, we have RSC,
RMG Sustainability Council,
which is majority of the board members
are manufacturers and the brand.
So when it is you know power imbalance,
you know accept- expect that there will
be better improvement because their
union, they're minority in the board.
So these are the whole thing
that we are pushing now and we
believe that when pandemic didn't
get like in little control,
when people are not vaccinated
so will be coming again with the
demand and campaign on living.
wage because it is so so important for us,
we wanted to make sure that the jobs we
have that we have with dignity. Until a
dignified job exists, women cannot say
I am empowered,
women cannot say
I have purchasing power.
Women cannot say that, you know, my voice are
heard in my family or an economic freedom.
So at this moment the situation in here,
like through this pandemic,
over 300 workers,
lost their jobs only from garment sector,
let alone any other sectors we have.
So majority of these women who lost
their job, just think about them-
Who just started to knowing
that, you know,
what is the economic freedom means?
She just went to the Ground Zero
because there is no other market
where she can get a job and you know,
keep continuing and
establish my rights so
that is not there anymore,
so we are also you know back and forth
with government that how they can
start alternative job market for these
women so they can come back and adopt.
But we really don't know that how
far government will go with it.
But this is the scenario is
that the women who came with the dream,
worked for awhile, now lost their jobs and
had to go back. And from very practical
you know, experience I wanted to share.
It is very fresh,
like day before yesterday I was in the field.
I was walking through the street in
industrial belt and I saw that there
is hundreds of workers in every factory gate,
they're waiting and I pick
like one of them.
Why you guys are waiting? Because you know the
manufacturer says they are hiring the worker.
Government says that workers are
not coming to the factory gates
but the reality is different.
It's a hundreds of workers,
men and women who are waiting
just to get hired in the factory.
So I just randomly pick one
woman and stop her and say,
hey what happened to you?
and she said I lost
my job 10 months ago and then I
ask that do you have children and
how you will be running your life?
She said that you know it is so difficult
these days that my husband also lost
their job and we have to achieve two
children at home and I left them
starving at home and looking for job.
So situation is that bad and it is not
that one story, it is the story of thousands.
You know women, those are working
in the garment and other sector and
why they are facing this? Because
the business is not responsible.
So business need to be responsible for
coming days and the model needs to be re
write and it should be considered level,
and human rights and women rights on it.
I think I wanted to stop here and I'll
be happy to answer any question you have
further, thank you.
Thank you before we, before I
move to questions and answers.
It's a couple more minutes.
I guess I'd be interested to hear,
given you know the audience for
a symposium or our participants are,
you know, writing their PHD's.
Some of them are already researchers.
Could you share with us some ways
in which you think,
like into the future for the next
thinking ahead to the next 10 years
how do you think that researchers can
support workers in their movement
for justice and to hold companies
You know, it is amazing to me to
all of you all the PhD
you know students, and I really don't
know which industry you are going on,
which organization you are joining,
but wherever you go take
responsibility, try to know more,
you know beyond the research paper you read.
Beyond that, things are in the book ok?
So meet the people.
Meet the human faces and I think
that will make difference.
The human stories will give you a
different light than they thing you read,
so if you are with any even agencies
so UN have like a lot of
organization who deal with the labels.
I'll deal with the labels.
There is a portion like business and
human rights principles also can
help you know the labels across the globe.
If you are joining with any business
company be you know be try to
be a responsible business group
try to change your institution or
organization or business industry.
If you're in with a, you know.
With a little movement group or
with the trade union? OK, just.
Help the flow to goals.
Help that you know this is struggle
need a lot of like resource persons
like you can help a lot like we
we are the people.
I mean we are the fields people
we try to organize.
We try to fight in the field but there
are many ways that that you research
or you experience can also help the
trading union movement in the in
that NGOs or liberal movement do
across the globe or especially
in the production country.
So wherever you are, I would say that.
Meet with people and that will give
a lot of experience to, you know,
in your journey what you can do.
Thank you so much.
We're going to have an opportunity
to ask questions to Kalpona,
but for now we'll go on
to Kate and then we'll come back
to your questions for Kalpona.
Thank you so much and
thank you so much from me too
to Kalpona for those really thought
provoking ideas, and to the organizers
as well for organizing this event.
I was just saying to them
before we all got on it.
Looks like a really amazing schedule
you know I wish I had something
like this when I was doing my PhD.
So I hope people been getting a lot
out of it and thanks to thanks to all
of you guys for being here as well.
There's obviously a lot of talk
in debates around the international
human rights agenda on how we
can search for ways of
strengthening making more
binding the obligations associated
with international human rights
norms like that the UNGP'S.
And there's a lot of focus on legal
regulation and ways that we can use
law to harden up those obligations.
whether through extraterritorial
forms of regulations.
Whether through international
treaty and so on,
this is a big focus.
Now, these sorts of discussions and
debates are obviously of crucial
importance in figuring out how
better to protect people from adverse
human rights impacts associated
with business activity.
And I'm sure you've been talking
about them already throughout
throughout the workshop.
But what Shelley's asked me
to talk about today
which sort of maps onto what my own
research as a political scientist
tends to focus on, is a range of
non legal regulatory systems
that are really widely used around
the world to try and hold business to
account for their impact on human rights.
Now what I'm going to suggest in the time
that I have now is these these mechanisms.
I mean, they're they're limited in
kind of obvious ways as a result of
the fact that they're non binding,
but nonetheless, I think it's really
important for us to understand
how they work because they are in
fact the site of a lot of activity
around implementing the UN GP's.
So it's important for us to understand
them and how they work and to really
scrutinize what they can and cannot
do to help us protect and promote
human rights in this kind of area.
Now in a nutshell,
just to give you a sense of where
what I wanna basically suggest.
I want to say that these are,
look on the one hand I want
to say you know we need to
look at these mechanisms.
We understand that they are
They have some potential value
under some circumstances to
contribute to promoting the
business and human rights agenda.
But at the same time they do come with
significant risks of corporate domination,
even sort of corporate capture
and of de-politicization of the
business and human rights agenda.
And while, personally,
I don't think that means that we should
abandon these aproaches,
'cause actually I think there's
a lot of activity going on that
has the potential to be valuable
if it's handled in the right way.
What I do think is that what we need
to be doing as a sort of business and
human rights international community is
really to be putting a lot more emphasis,
not just on how we can strengthen
'cause obviously everyone is
talking about that anyway as well,
but also what can we do to actually
strengthen and empower the worker
and community groups that are
struggling for human rights?
Basically, the troublemakers like you Kalpona!
How can we support you better, to
do what you're doing and to actually,
take control of the business and
human rights agenda in general,
but also more specifically of these
kinds of non legal mechanisms that I'm
going to focus on, and try and use them.
You know they're never going to be perfect,
they're never going to solve
the problem for us,
but to at least try and harness
them and use them as more meaningful
tools of corporate accountability.
That's basically sort of
where I went ahead with this.
So it's a sort of a somewhat going
in a couple of different directions,
but that that's sort of where
I'm trying to get to in the end.
So perhaps I should just say
something briefly to start off with
about what I'm talking about,
'cause there are a lot of very
different kinds of examples when I'm
talking about non legal mechanisms
and I'm sure many of you are
very familiar with many of them.
Some of you may even be working
on them for your PhD projects
or other work that you do.
Let me just mention a few examples
of what I'm talking about,
so one really important category
of these sorts of non legal
Business and Human rights regulatory
systems, would be multi stakeholder
standing standard setting systems of
different kinds which bring together a
whole range of different stakeholders,
businesses and NGO's in particular.
But sometimes also government actors
are involved to set standards around
human rights and often around a
whole bunch of other social and
environmental issues associated
with business activity,
production processes and
then often to have some kind of
accountability or compliance
mechanism associated with that
So I'm sure most of us would be able
to think of a bunch of different examples.
There are so many of these things out there.
Examples that come to my mind that I think a
lot of people would be familiar with
would be the Fair Labor Association
in the apparel and sportswear sector
or the Ethical Trade Initiative
in the UK. A lot of commodity
single commodity roundtables.
So the roundtable on sustainable
palm oil or Forest Stewardship
Council instead of timber products.
Marine Stewardship Council for seafood,
etc. Right, so a lot of these are going
to be going to be familiar to you.
Now, they're all really different.
Some of them work in a particular sector
or on a particular issue, you know.
Revenue transparency or whatever
it might be.
Some of them work across sectors
like the ETI.
Some of them are quite broad in their
standards and try to capture a whole
range of social and environmental
sustainability issues including
human rights and labor rights.
as part of that.
So they're all very different.
They all work in really different ways,
sort of lumping them together in
this in this one category of sort of
multi stakeholder regulatory systems,
but most of them have a few key elements.
The negotiation of some kind of standards.
Often they you know they bring
different stakeholders together
in some kind of dialogue process.
Often they have some kind of
sometimes certification, Et Cetera,
and many of them also have grievance
handling mechanisms of some kind,
for when there are allegations that
violations of the standards of
human rights abuses have occurred.
As one really important category
of these non legal mechanisms.
Now in addition to that,
there's a whole sort of group of
other voluntary standard systems
which is intergovernmental.
Typically the examples that I have in mind,
so that would include
the OECD guidelines
on multinational enterprises,
I'm sure many of you are familiar with.
I'm also thinking here of the
IFC's performance standards,
which the World Bank Group uses
to set standards for companies
that are taking their loans.
But those standards are then also used as
a reference point for a whole bunch of
other International Development banks.
Private sector banks through the equator
principles and so on around the world.
So again they have,
they're all set up very differently,
but they usually have some kind of standard,
some compliance system,
some kind of complaint handling system that
people can use when violations have occurred,
so they're all very different,
But what they share in common is
that they've got standards around
human rights and related issues.
They've got compliance systems
of some kind.
And they're voluntary, they've
all got different incentive structures or
apply to different groups of mechanisms.
But whether or not they involve governments,
they're not legally binding,
and they don't apply it to
everyone in a particular jurisdiction.
So they're being really important mechanisms,
despite their limitations, there's
there's been a lot of action around
trying to implement international
human rights standards through
these lots of mechanisms,
and it's not really surprising
in the sense that you know,
particularly earlier on in the process
of the UN GP's being developed.
There was a lot of interest,
a lot of enthusiasm, quite broad
based around the potential of these
kinds of non legal regulatory
and grievance handling mechanisms.
And although I think it's fair to say
that a lot of that enthusiasm has
faded at least amongst certain groups,
certain stakeholders more
there's no question that these
mechanisms did get a lot of emphasis
from Ruggie and his team throughout
the process of developing the UN GP's,
and they do appear quite prominently
quite explicitly within some
aspects of the guidelines,
so you know they're
important in that sense.
But they also remain
practically quite important.
Not least just in a simple sense
that at the same time that really
like the majority of national
governments around the world,
are really doing very little
to sort of implement the UN
GPS through legal mechanisms
of the kind that many people would
like to see. And at the same time the
debates are continuing about that
implementation through these kinds
of non legal mechanisms, is going on
all over the place and actually has,
although they're they're limited necessarily
in very significant ways, nonetheless,
some of them have quite extensive
reach throughout supply chains,
but you know inspectors all over the
world just give us a couple of examples.
I should have looked at what time
I started talking here so I can
see how I'm tracking.
How long have I spoken for?
Daisy? That's OK.
You got about 10 minutes. Oh cool?
OK, no, that's good.
I just don't want to take too long
talking about these things in general,
given the background.
so let me just give a couple of examples.
So the OECD guidelines
are an example which is mentioned
quite often where there's
explicit reference to the UN GP's
which has been incorporated under
a number of different dimensions,
you know the the focus on promoting
responsibilities for risk based
due diligence and so on which
has got a lot of emphasis and
implementation in many areas.
The IFC Performance Standards and
the Equator Principles which are
related, sort of derived from them,
also incorporated several
aspects of the UN GP's
directly and then again,
there's sort of multiplier effects every
time one of these influential standard
systems incorporates aspects of the UN GP's,
'cause that then flows through
into the supply chains into,
the companies who are connected to
those funding chains and so on.
and similarly with the multi
there are a lot of examples
of direct implementation,
some multi stakeholder initiatives
from thinking of the example of the
Roundtable on sustainable palm oil,
which is one that I'm personally
particularly familiar with,
which quite extensively
implemented aspects of the UN GP's
in their standards but also through
significant revisions to their
grievance handling systems to try and
come into alignment with the UN GP's
in key ways. And even the the multi
stakeholder initiatives that haven't
really been so engaged or haven't had
pressure put directly on them to do it.
Again, the sort of the indirect
ways in which the multiplier effects
of this channel of implementation
flow through is interesting,
so I seal that sort of quite an
obscure body that probably many
of you wouldn't be familiar with,
but it's sort of the umbrella body
come under which a lot of the prominent
sustainability certification schemes,
so that would include the commodity
roundtables that I've mentioned
but you know, Fair Trade,
all these sustainability certification
schemes that you'd be familiar with.
Uhm, they're members of ISEAL,
And ISEAL, they kind of
regulate the regulators.
They set what they call 'credibility
principles' and then only the certification,
the private regulatory systems that meet
those standards can be a member and
claim that there are credible private system.
That's the idea,
And so ISEAL has incorporated certain
aspects of the UN GP's, not very extensively,
but in certain ways they've incorporated
that into their credibility
principles, and that means that even
the multi stakeholder initiatives
that are not that engaged or that
aren't under direct pressure to
do it, still kind of need to do it
at least a little bit to bring
themselves into alignment with that
overarching set of principles.
So I mean,
those are just some examples of the reach of,
sort of how far through all these
different mechanisms and supply chains
that the UN GP's are sort of going
on being implemented in these ways.
You know, even as a lot of the attention
perhaps and the visibility
is - sorry, Siri thinks now
I'm talking to it.
If you hear a little mechanical
voice in the background, ignore it
going on in the background.
So there's a lot of action
there that I think it's important
for us to be to be aware of,
UM, and you know in some ways
that's kind of valuable in its own right
insofar as it enables large scale impact.
Although these standards are voluntary.
What they do have the capacity to
do is to directly implement the
standards on the ground, insights,
production, to the extent that there
are compliant mechanisms of course
to create the incentives or
the sanctions for that to happen,
It does have quite significant reach.
UM, you know,
there's so there's contributions
to potentially to small amounts of
changes in business behavior
through that mechanism,
And there's also the potential for other,
more indirect use to be made of
these sorts of mechanisms through,
through raising the visibility of
some of these human rights issues,
through creating forums in which
you know groups working on these
issues can can get some voice.
You know, there's various examples that
I'll say a bit more about later,
where some of those indirect processes
can occur, and sometimes these mechanisms
can actually be used to help people
get at least some kind of redress.
And again, we could talk more
about the limitations of that,
but there's a few things
that they can do, right.
But, although I'm sort of arguing
on that side, that actually there's
a lot going on in this space,
and that I think you know,
it's important for us to be
scrutinizing that and to be and to be
aware of of how that's playing out.
The other side of that
is that of course,
these systems remain really limited
in obvious ways and also
perhaps in less obvious ways,
so some of the obvious limitations that
I've mentioned, the scope of coverage,
so the fact that you know these these
sorts of standards are not addressing
all businesses in a particular
sector or in a particular jurisdiction.
That's just the ones that join up,
or the ones that get their financing from
a particular source or whatever it may be,
so you've only got these
things operating in certain
sectors you know,
certain supply chains and companies
who are exposed to the pressure
by stakeholders who actually care
about this stuff in the first place.
So limiting scope in very significant ways,
and then obviously they're
limited in enforceability and stringency,
since they are at the end of
the day completely voluntary,
so they're kind of obvious limitations,
But the other thing which I don't know,
which again it's probably obvious,
but perhaps we don't talk about it as much,
is the ways in which
these kinds of mechanisms as a way of
contributing to business and human
rights agenda is just limited
by the huge power differentials
between workers and communities.
And you know this is important not
just because of the way that it
vulnerable groups who are actually the
ones who need to be using these mechanisms,
who they ultimately targeted at from
really being able to use them effectively.
Being able to get redress, and so on.
But what it also means is that
often these processes,
both in terms of the content
of the rules and procedures,
and all of that,
but also in terms of the discourse,
the way people talk about them,
the way people represent these schemes
and what they can and can't do.
Is often controlled in really important
ways by by business actors you know,
and in some cases also by,
by governments who have flex links
to the business actors and sort of
share a very market focused economic,
growth focused sort of ideological
agenda and so on.
And so when those ideas and ideologies
in those particular actors control the
agenda and control the regulatory systems,
it sort of tends to
pull them in a direction
apart from, again, obvious limitations
or not wanting to make it enforceable
and so on on it. It has an effect on
sort of pulling the UN GP's in the
business and human rights agenda.
You know, sort of technocratic,
and ultimately therefore quite status
quo kind of business friendly
way, that that shuts down
questions about, you know,
bigger systemic problems of exploitation
or shuts down the troublemakers you know,
and sort of more confrontational
agendas of corporate accountability,
and therefore either deliberately
or perhaps sometimes both, undercuts efforts
to give more meaningful power and voice to,
you know, to people who this
really should be targeted at.
Which is the people whose
human rights are being impacted.
And we could think, and we can talk about
sure, everyone would be able to
think of examples of that kind of
tendency towards deep politicization.
in some respects you know I would think
of that as being reflected in discourses,
that are just constantly
going on about the business case.
You know for risk management and so on.
You know assumptions that we've
always got to be focusing on
collaboration and talking nicely
together through dialogue and
in doing so, to avoid talking about
conflicting interests you know, fundamentally
conflicting interests or profound
power disparities between different groups,
or both of those things together,
which is you know where where it
really gets dangerous and which
actually just you know,
defines all of these sectors and
and underpins the problem,
So the more that we're just talking
about the business case and it's
win win and let's all collaborate,
the more we're not talking
about these things.
And again, you can sort of two minutes.
Again we can see this reflected in the
way that implementation and someone's
rolled out, it's often led by experts.
We have technical guides on
good practices and so on.
Rather than prioritizing empowerment
and voice and representation to affected
people in leading these processes.
So I think these processes
of depoliticization they're,
I mean, in some ways they're in our faces,
but in other ways there perhaps
And you know,
if they're not called out and then
they do have the potential to undermine,
you know, the potential that I do think
some of these voluntary mechanisms,
in particular in the in UN GP's,
in general to spearhead
brought up broader processes of change,
you know, and I think there are
there are a lot of ways in which
affected people and groups that are
supporting them can be can sort of
rest back control of the agenda,
and I alluded to some of these before,
the way that strengthened standards,
even if their voluntary can be used
as the basis for accountability politics.
To sort of point out the distance
between the normative discourse
and an established practice,
and so on to increase pressure
for real change,
you know if these forums can be used
as a way of supporting mobilization,
bringing different groups together,
giving them voice, giving them visibility,
giving them credibility to their claims,
you know, and so on.
We can talk more about about different,
what this might look like,
but I think there are ways of doing it,
but they're hard.
They're really hard,
and the reason they're hard is
precisely because the problem,
the underlying huge power imbalances and
in many cases structurally conflicting
interest amongst the different groups
involved and there's a real dilemma here.
If I could just have a pincher
couple more minutes here,
Daisy, just to sort of
finish off the thought process here.
It creates really significant dilemmas.
I think real real dilemmas
for those who are pushing the
business and human rights agenda.
Because on the one hand,
you know 'cause you want to get buy in,
You want powerful actors to buy in.
You want businesses to be
signing up, to be endorsing these
sorts of systems and standards.
You want powerful government governments,
likewise to be supporting it.
But of course,
they're going to be more willing to do that
if their interests and values,
and their power are not threatened,
so there's a, there's a real dilemma there.
There's a real tension there,
and it's you know anyone who's
involved faces that tension and has
to make difficult choices about
you know how much to compromise
to sort of take things forward,
or sort of how much to push back
and to politicize these processes.
I was gonna say something about
how I think Ruggie tries to deal
with this and his reflections on
the guiding 'cause I won't say that
'cause I haven't got time
but I can talk about-
I think he tries to sort of get
around it and I'm not not really
convinced that it works, but
anyway the basic message is-
Practically, I think,
and this is where it really resonates
with Kalpona's talk, is I
think from a practical point of view
as I said,
we really need to focus not just
on legal institutional rules and
processes and how they can be strengthened.
That's really important,
but we also need to be talking
more and doing more to empower
the troublemakers to help them
organize more effective.
And that's hard because it
means talking about politics.
It means talking about conflicting
interests and power and all the things that
powerful governments and business
desperately don't want to talk about,
but you know,
I just think that if we really
want to have meaningful affective
processes of corporate accountability
and to be able to use these kinds
of mechanisms and standards and
norms to that end,
then that's where we need to put
more of that emphasis on empowering
the troublemakers on not on
empowering effective people.
Thank you so much,
That was really excellent.
Yeah, and I just, you know,
I really reflect on your point.
Both of your points,
which is that multi stakeholder initiatives
like for example the Bangladesh
Fire and Building Safety Accords.
Those types of initiatives must
have the voices of people who are
on the groundm who see what is
really happening and what is really,
really needs to needs to be
done to improve conditions.
And if there isn't also real change
happening in those initiatives,
then they're just a waste of time.
For most people, and um,
so that's absolutely a critical place.
And just on the issue of
inequality and power,
I could not believe I still
cannot believe that someone
like the owner of Zara,
who you know would make a
lot in Bangladesh as well.
His net worth is
$71 billion. 71. Billion.
Dollars, like that's U.S. dollars.
Meanwhile, the women that Kalpona
speaks to and works with, when
they lose their jobs because they
haven't and never earnt a living wage
they literally go from, you know,
having a job to then not being paid to
then having starving children.
So that is the kind of reality
that our global system perpetuates.
And it's difficult to stay
polite and support those
when that is the reality of the gross
inequality that people are faced.
Discussions on the ethics and BHR issues surrounding vaccines, global pandemics and the global governance of COVID-19 response with Dr Rebekah Farell, Prof David Heyman, Dr Kim Mulholland & Tom Buis (Wemos).
Discussions on the ethics and BHR issues surrounding vaccines, global pandemics and the global governance of COVID-19 response with Dr Rebekah Farell, Prof David Heyman, Dr Kim Mulholland & Tom Buis (Wemos).
Penny can you unmute?
No? it's OK, here we know it's here good,
good, good OK starting
Are we starting now? OK.
Hello everybody, good afternoon or
good morning, depending on where
you are in the part of the world.
My name is Professor Penelope Weller
from the RMIT University Center
for Business and Human Rights.
I'm BHRIGHT's lead on Health,
and you have joined the seminar
on Global Vaccine Inequality.
I'd like to begin this session by
acknowledging traditional owners of
the unceded land on which RMIT stands.
The Woi Wurrung and the Boon Wurrung
language groups of the
Eastern Kulin nations, and I pay my
respects to elders past,
present and emerging and any indigenous
people who have joined us today.
I recognize indigenous
knowledges have been produced,
exchanged and applied for thousands
of generations, and that the
inclusion and relationship of these
knowledges contributes to and extends
the mission of the university.
I would also like to acknowledge
the indigenous people from lands
wherever you may be joining us today.
In my case,
I acknowledge the Palawa people of
Lutruwita, and recognize the ongoing
legacy of black wars in this state.
So now, I turn to today's topic.
Referring to global vaccine inequality,
the Director-General of the
World Health Organization,
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,
warned earlier this year that
the world was on the brink of a
catastrophic moral failure, and that
the price of the failure would be
paid with lives and the livelihoods
of the world's poorest countries.
Also of the poor within developed countries.
With me today we have a panel of
experts who will help us think
through some of the issues raised
by vaccine global inequality.
I'm very pleased to be able to
welcome Professor David Heymann,
Professor Kim Mulholland,
Tom Buis and Dr Rebekah Farrell.
I thank all of you most sincerely
for your generosity in agreeing
to speak with us today.
In terms of the format of the seminar,
Rebekah is going to begin
with a brief introduction,
followed by presentations from Professor
Heyman and Professor Mulholland,
and then we will have an opportunity
for a questions session.
Both professors need to leave
after that time,
so please post your questions
in the chat and we will answer
as many of them as we can.
After that, we will hear from
Tom Buis, and we're going to have
another opportunity for question
time with Tom and Rebekah.
So now we begin, and I have the
great pleasure of introducing our
first expert, Dr Rebekah Farrell.
Dr Farrell is manager of the Legal Policy
at the Law Institute of Victoria.
She is an expert on clinical
trials and global governance.
She completed her PhD on that topic at RMIT,
but she was also the inaugural
Managing Director of BHRIGHT.
So she was instrumental in the beginning
of BHRIGHT and shaping our early time.
So we are absolutely honored
to welcome Dr Rebekah Farrell
to be our first speaker today.
Thank you, Penny. I wish to convey
that any opinions I express are
my own and do not reflect those
of the Law Institute of Victoria.
I am joining you from the country of the
Wurrundjeri People of the Kulin nation, and
I pay my respects to their elders past,
present and emerging.
Thank you so much,
Associate Professor Shelly Marshall,
Director of Business and Human Rights
Center and Health lead, Penny Weller, for
including me in this important BHRIGHT event.
I am humbled to be part of our most
esteemed panel and to provide the
theoretical and critical foregrounding
for what promises to be a very
informative set of presentations.
So I'm going to start us off
with this big question;
'How do we solve the world's wicked problems?'
And when I say 'wicked',
I'm referencing the work of Webber.
But before you think you're you
might be in the wrong seminar,
not Andrew Lloyd Webber,
the famous composer - and not Wicked,
the long running Broadway musical.
I refer instead to the work of the
1970s theorists Webber and Rittel,
who introduced the term to describe
some of the most challenging
and complex issues of our time.
Things like climate change,
all of which threaten human health.
The global ethics and inequity of
COVID-19 vaccines is a wicked problem.
Partly because it's comprised
of a number of problems,
as our speakers will talk about this evening,
but also because it stems from the pervasive
issue of health and global health inequality.
The challenges associated with COVID-19
vaccines may feel like new challenges,
but global health inequality has deep roots.
15 years ago I started a research project
into unethical offshore clinical trials.
These are trials that are conducted
by pharmaceutical companies
in offshore locations,
predominantly developing countries,
and they can be conducted
in an unethical manner,
meaning that they don't meet
the required ethical standards
as set out in the international
instruments and guidelines.
There may be issues of lack of
informed consent, lack of oversight,
inappropriate use of placebos,
no post-trial access
to treatment, to give
you just a few examples.
I came into contact with this problem
when I was working on a community
development project in a marginalized
area of northeast Thailand.
I observed young children in a village
there being vaccinated for polio with a
vaccine that was not deemed appropriate
for administration in Australia.
The vaccine was causing in the
children acute Flaccid paralysis.
Further research led me to understand that
this was not in fact an isolated event.
There have been cases documented
in which people in developing
countries have been severely harmed
by pharmaceutical companies when
conducting clinical trials, and the
terrible facts of some of these
instances have been proven in
impartial and well respected courts.
Clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines
have raised ethical concerns.
violations of the well established and
fundamental principles of profit sharing
- pardon me - benefit sharing
and post trial access.
We have seen examples where trials
have been conducted in developing
countries, and those countries have
not yet gained access to the vaccine.
So for example, despite hosting a clinical
trial for the Astra Zeneca vaccine,
the South African government was
unable to secure a fair pricing
agreement, and had to pay double the
price or double the amount per dose
compared to European Union countries.
This is just one aspect of the global
ethics and equity problem around COVID-19
vaccines, and we'll hear more on this
and other aspects of our problem - of the
problem from our guest speakers tonight.
So back to this question of how do we
solve the world's wicked problems?
Well, wicked problems require
And this time, I use the term wicked
in a much more contemporary sense.
The way I hear it used when I take my
daughters to the local skate park,
we need solutions that are creative, that
are clever, that have the input of multiple
disciplines and that bring
together disparate experts.
So to explore this,
I'm going to take us through some
critical theory around global governments
in addressing global problems.
much attention has been given to the
role and responsibilities of governments,
particularly those in the global North
to rectify global vaccine inequity.
We have seen government efforts hampered
and undermined by vaccine nationalism,
an example we're all probably familiar
with was the Australian government
securing Pfizer stock from the global
Vaccine Sharing Initiative, COVAX.
This accords with contemporary
We know that in trying to solve
increasingly complex transnational problems,
the state-centric approach doesn't work
and there are a number of theories
that I could draw upon to support this,
but I feel it's only appropriate
given that this is a Business and
Human Rights Centre event, and given
his sad and recent passing last
week, that I draw upon the work of
eminent Professor John Ruggie.
Ruggie considered the hierarchical
old governance models of States and
along with their mechanisms and
treaties, to have limited utility
in dealing with many of today's
most significant global challenges.
while still being an important actor,
is too political and too parochial
to meet the world's problems.
This is evidenced by the fact that
traditional forms of international
legalization and negotiation
through universal consensus based
institutions are stagnating.
It's a phenomenon that is being
described by the late Professor
David Held as gridlock,
wherein the features of the old
governance regime combined with
economic and political shifts have
ground governance responses to a halt.
And I believe that's exactly what we're
seeing with the WTO TRIPS agreement
waiver where negotiations are stalled
by the interests of developed nations.
We need to adopt contemporary thinking
around global governance, thinking
that embraces the shift away from
the highly integrated international
system to a decentralized polycentric
global governance approach that
witnesses a critical engagement
of both state and non state actors
to address global problems.
In central to
this is an understanding of the
role of the Pharmaceutical industry,
how they can and should be addressing
global health inequality. Little attention
seems to have been given to the
Pharmaceutical industry with
regard to COVID-19 vaccines,
though it's long accepted that business
has responsibility for respecting
human rights alongside governments.
That being said,
you must also consider the
governance space is beyond a
simple state commerce dichotomy.
I find it helpful to think of
the business and human rights
scholar Professor Cesar Rodriguez
Garavito's conceptualisation of global
governance spaces as ecosystems.
Where a multiplicity of different factors,
regulatory models and political
In my own research with Professor
I termed the phenomenon the
transnational legal space.
When I wanted to understand the problem
of unethical offshore clinical trials
and how these could be addressed,
I started asking questions of the experts,
academics. And true to the governance
theories of Ruggie, Held and Rodriguez Garavito,
I found private and public actors from legal,
academic and investigative sectors
committed to addressing global health
inequality, and working collaboratively
to do so.
I am delighted that three of those
experts that I met during my
research are speaking at this event.
It would be cliche of me to
finish by saying that to solve
the world's wicked problems,
we need wicked people,
but you certainly do need
to have the right people,
the greatest minds from medicine,
advocacy and government.
And we are fortunate to have
those people here with us tonight.
I'm now going to hand over to one
of the most pre-eminent thinkers and
leaders in the global health space who
headed The WHO global response to SARS,
Professor of Infectious Disease
Epidemiology at the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical
Medicine, Professor David Heyman.
Thank you very much Rebekah,
for that kind introduction.
It's really a pleasure to be with
you today and as we discussed
when we set up this meeting,
it might be useful first to just
go through a little understanding
of what vaccines can really do.
And I think back to smallpox,
which was a disease which in 1967 was
killing 2.7 million people each year.
Today that disease is eradicated and
we no longer have to worry about
treating it or these other
problems that it causes.
So going through a set of slides,
I hope that I can show you how
vaccines can best be used.
Next slide, please.
Vaccines are certainly used for
disease control, and this is
just a non specific term for the
reduction of disease prevalence,
morbidity and mortality.
And as we know, childhood immunization
programs are very important. Next.
This shows you the World Health
Organization's proposed schedule for
vaccinations for children, and what's
important is that this shows what
there is a global consensus about.
But then countries take this and
adapt the vaccination schedule
to their own epidemiology, next.
And this just shows you what happens
with vaccines when they're properly
used at the top you see two lines,
one red, one blue,
which your estimates by WHO and UNICEF
on the vaccination coverage in the world,
and what you see at the bottom is the
cases of pertussis, whooping cough,
that have decreased dramatically
since vaccines were introduced.
Probably no GP,
no General Practitioner today
in industrialized countries is
dealing with this.
And does not have to use antibiotics.
So vaccines are very powerful, next.
And what they do is they decrease morbidity.
They decrease mortality,
they decrease the use of antibiotics
and the problems associated with
anti microbial resistance and
they decrease hospitalizations.
So control is a very important
benefit of vaccines, next.
But vaccines can also be used for
elimination of transmission and that
means reducing the incidence of infection,
reducing the numbers of cases that are
occurring regularly to a level that's
more acceptable and more able to be
dealt with within a health system, next.
WHO has a strategy for the elimination
of measles using a very powerful
vaccine and that is to strengthen
routine immunization systems and
at the same time conduct measles
vaccination campaigns in countries where
there's an increase in transmission,
especially during the rainy season.
So this is the elimination
strategy for measles, next.
And what you can see is that as
measles vaccinations have increased
in the top two lines again,
measles annual reported cases
have decreased, next.
But these programs are often very
sensitive to anti vaccination movers,
and this shows you an article
that was published about measles vaccine
talking about the way that it caused
autism in children, and it was peer
reviewed and published in The Lancet.
But in the end it was found that
it was not a valid article and
it was retracted by The Lancet,
but already that had caused a great
amount of difficulty within the world
and gave fodder to the anti vaccines, next.
And this is the the way that the
anti VAX years have taken this article
and moved it forward within their
circles to discourage vaccination with
a vaccine which saves lives, next.
And this is what happens when
these anti-vaxxers begin,
there's an increase in information
on the web not only being sought by
people but also by being reported by
people so that we see that there's a
very sensitive relationship between
the anti vaccination movement and
the Internet, next.
And this is what happened when
those Internet anti vaxxers began
to advocate for no vaccination.
Measles which was under very good control,
began to increase again globally, next.
The benefits of elimination of
viral infections are, however,
that they decrease morbidity, mortality.
They decrease the use of antibiotics
for super infections and therefore the
decreasing problem in antimicrobial
resistance decrease in hospitalizations,
but they are sensitive to anti-vax
Now, vaccines are also used for
eradication, and eradication
is the permanent reduction to zero of
a specific pathogen as a result of
deliberate efforts such as vaccination
and then you can go on to certify
that and finally have extinction.
And the only human disease so far,
next, it's been eradicated, is smallpox.
And smallpox isn't -
is a very specific disease which
was very amenable to eradication.
Because every infection was clinically
expressed in the same manner,
every person infected had the same
clinical signs and symptoms and
you can see those on this patient.
There were superficial and systemic
bacterial infection lesions that
required antibiotics so that
they didn't cause septicemia and
death from bacterial infection.
But even so,
there was a 20% to 40% case fatality rate
for smallpox, and 100% facial scarring
on those people who were infected.
There was droplet transmission face to face by
direct contact and no animal reservoir.
So all of these factors contributed to the
successful eradication of smallpox, next.
But the smallpox vaccine, next, was
a very important tool in this.
The vaccine was a vaccine
which could be lyophilized,
is dried out,
and kept at 37 degrees for a period
of up to a month.
And it was still active when
reconstituted with the diluent.
The bifurcated needle that
was used to vaccinate against
smallpox was very appropriate, next,
because it was a fork-like tool
which was dipped into the vaccine,
a drop between the two prongs on
that tool, and then that drop was just
deposited on the surface of the skin
on clean skin and there were twenty
punctures with those fork points
through that vaccine into the skin,
and a vaccination occurred, next.
It was very easy to identify
smallpox using cards,
because remember every case was
clinically expressed in the same way, next.
And vaccination did not have
to be mass vaccination.
It was just vaccination
around cases that occurred,
either vaccinating their contacts
or a ring vaccination in the
communities where they lived,
and smallpox was successfully
So the benefits of eradication -
No more morbidity and no
more mortality from this.
And remember 2.7 million people were
estimated to have died in 1967 from smallpox.
No use of antibiotics,
and those benefits, no hospitalization,
and it was very cost beneficial, next.
So which strategy for COVID vaccines,
control, elimination or eradication? Next.
Well, in order to understand
how vaccines can be best used,
we need to undo a lot of misunderstanding
for what's going on with COVID.
Herd immunity has been talked about and
people seem to be just waiting for immunity
as a magic solution to COVID. Well,
Herd Immunity is very simple to understand.
What you see at the top is a person
infected, and there's a reproductive
number of four for that infection,
which means that four people can be infected
from that person etc.
You can go on and infect others ad infinitum.
But if there are people who
are immune on the bottom,
those in blue,
you can see that a herd immunity
effect already begins when population
immunity begins in the community and
there's less transmission already
when people begin to become immune,
either from natural infection or vaccine.
If there's a vaccine available, next.
Now herd immunity definitions.
Herd immunity is the indirect
protection of susceptible individuals
from infection when a sufficient
portion of the population is immune,
and herd immunity effect begins immediately
when people begin to get infected.
Even before there was a measles vaccine,
Herd immunity developed during
epidemics and then the year after
people were protected against measles.
The herd immunity threshold
is the point at which the proportion
of a population that is susceptible,
falls below the level needed for
transmission and the average number
of secondary infections is what the
reproductive number is, so next.
So herd immunity threshold concept is
very easy to understand. For Rubella
and Measles which have vaccines
which produce lifelong immunity,
the Herd immunity effect or the Herd
immunity threshold is above 90%, or above 85%.
That means that when you reach set
vaccination coverage in the population,
transmission will automatically
stop because there won't be enough
susceptible people to transmit the
infection and you can then begin to talk
about eradication, next.
But some general concepts of herd
immunity that are important to
consider are that infection generally
provides a herd immunity effect,
but duration depends on the duration
of protection against infection
and unacceptable levels of morbidity
and mortality may occur, and we've seen
what happens when populations which are
at greatest risk of COVID serious illness,
They become hospitalized,
they die. At the same time,
it's important to
understand that strict non-pharmaceutical
invent interventions such as lockdowns,
decrease the ability to create herd
immunity from natural infection.
Next. And vaccination with long lasting
immunity is the most sure way to
attain and sustain full herd immunity
with minimal morbidity and mortality.
So those are some important
points to consider as we
move on to the next slide,
which talks about estimating herd
immunity threshold for SARS,
for Coronavirus too. Estimates of herd
immunity threshold by modelers
have used various assumptions
for reproductive number and
various rates of contact.
And they assume that infection provides
lasting protection against reinfection,
which does not occur,
and they also assume that this
equates to 200 million people in the
US and 5.6 billion people worldwide.
So various estimates of herd
immunity have been from 50% to 75%,
using some tenants and some variables which
are really not reasonable to use for COVID,
as you'll see in the next slide.
What you see here is that with COVID,
there's uncertainty about the immune response
after naturally occurring infection.
What is the risk of reinfection?
We know it occurs and how long does
protection against serious illness upon
reinfection induration occur and restoration.
About vaccines, we also have uncertainties,
duration of protection,
how long is it that it protects against
serious illness and death and as
protection against infection and,
and how long is that duration?
If it does occur?
So next population immunity
develops and modifies these.
So can SARS CoV2 be eradicated
using current vaccines?
Well, let's take a look.
Remember this slide from smallpox, next.
And looking at that slide, smallpox,
there was a vaccine that was heat stable,
inexpensive to manufacture,
and easy to administer,
and it caused lifelong immunity.
Can this occur with
SARS coronavirus 2, next?
Probably not, because the vaccines
don't protect against infection,
although they do protect some against
infection for a certain period of time,
but it's not lifelong.
Clinical diagnosis is easy,
not so easy with SARS coronavirus2
transmission mainly face to face,
yes, the same for coronavirus.
Immunity permanent, next, no carrier state.
No. Immunity doesn't- isn't
permanent after natural infection,
and we know that there is a
carrier phase even after
vaccination. And finally,
is there an animal reservoir
for SARS coronavirus2 or is
there human infection only?
We know that minks had an outbreak among them,
the minks in Denmark,
and it had become endemic
in minks and they were culled.
But is this a long term possibility?
We just don't know, next.
So COVID-19 vaccines in the pandemic.
We have to be very appreciative that
they prevent sickness and death,
especially important in
They contribute to population
immunity that modifies infection.
They are greater safety-
There's greater safety enclosed
in outdoor populations,
and they provide for safe for travel
and prevention of importation,
and they decrease the risk
of development of variance.
we need to make sure that these
vaccines are accessible to all
people who need them. Next.
Next OK, so thanks very
much for listening to me.
I think what I've tried to show you is
that the vaccines that we have for SARS
coronavirus2 are very important,
but they don't prevent infection
at all people, they only modify
infection and make it less serious,
which we should be very grateful for.
And we hope that that effect will be long
lasting despite the evolution of variance.
So thanks very much back to you, Penny.
Thanks very much David and
thank you for walking us through
the very important technical
background to this particular debate.
Thank you so much.
So now I'm going to invite our next speaker,
Australian professorial fellow,,
Professor Kim Mulholland.
He's a member of the WHO's Strategic
Advisory group of Experts on Immunization.
Thanks very much,
I've taken the broad view to look
at equity and COVID-19 vaccines.
I would also like to pay my respects
to the indigenous people of this land.
Equity and health is very much an issue
for indigenous people in Australia.
I also thank David for that
I think the description of
herd immunity and the, um,
the nature of what Paul Fine would
refer to as population immunity
would came across very clearly, is
something which is going to wax
and wane according to combinations
of exposure and vaccinations.
So vaccination is part of the game and
exposure to the virus is part of the game.
Today I'm not going to describe the
difference between equity and equality,
except that I think this picture shows
it fairly clearly and probably shows it
more clearly than I could explain it.
And I think it's probably helpful for
us to remember that some individuals,
and some countries need more
help than others.
Sadly, in the international area,
as far as COVID-19 is concerned,
that is not happening.
And taking a sort of a, as they say,
an equity lens and thinking about equity,
I can see many ways in which COVID-19
has, to use a sort of political expression,
driven a wedge within communities.
And I just listed a few examples,
here in Australia I'm in
Melbourne or almost in Melbourne and,
Melbourne is of course now the city
with the longest lockdown in the world.
Not really a thing to be very proud of.
Now as far as education is concerned,
for many children, this has been disastrous.
Which children has it been disastrous for?
Not the rich ones with an academic
or professional parents.
It's the poor ones whose families
The people who don't
have secure employment.
The children who live in houses
without Internet access and
these children, their education
is going to be seriously damaged,
so it essentially promotes inequity.
We have regular meetings with
colleagues from Indonesia,
actually, throughout the pandemic.
We've done this, and we were talking
about the issue of the impact of
the pandemic on children and
speaking about the various issues
that affect children in Australia.
Because we're a group of pediatricians.
And our Indonesian colleagues said yes,
yes, that's all true in Indonesia,
but something else is more important
and it surprised me that they brought
up the issue of child marriages.
And said yes there has been a great
increase in the number of
Indonesian children at school who are sent home
because the school is closed are
really not likely to go back to school.
Many of them, especially the ones
whose parents are struggling,
and particularly who's parents
are not educated.
Those children then enter the workforce,
and if they're girls,
they're likely to get married young.
And it's not only in Indonesia.
This has been described by
UNICEF all over the world,
and it's a terrible trend.
In general, urban poor have suffered
enormously from the pandemic.
When I wrote this particular phrase,
I was thinking of India and I think we
all saw what happened in India when
the lockdowns took place in the big
cities and all of the the itinerant people,
or they're sort of,
you could say homeless people,
but there many people who were
actually living in their workplace
which was either on a rickshaw or
in a small cafe or something.
Were basically sent back to their
villages and they went back to their
villages quite often with the virus.
So that was a disaster.
But more like the subject at this,
this discussion really is about
acting and vaccines,
and I'm saying I'm going to speak
a little bit more about that.
Could I have the next slide please?
Now the picture on the left shows
you a map that most people are sort
of familiar with. The fraction of
the population living in poverty.
Where are the people living in
poverty in the world? Well, they're
in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia
for the most part. That's not to say that
there are aren't impoverished people here,
but that's where they are.
So if you impose on the world the
pandemic and then you create what is,
in my opinion almost a miracle,
actually, that we have effective
vaccines against COVID-19.
I should say that because we did
have previous experience with
coronaviruses and we did not have,
at least for SARS or even
for MERS effective vaccines.
So it really is something we have
to recognize as being a fantastic
achievement for those responsible.
Next slide please.
However, what about access then?
The same picture of the map,
the same map on the left looks like the
complete inverse of the map on the right,
which is what it is,
and that is that the access to vaccines
and to vaccination is inversely
proportional to wealth or the poor
people just don't get it and next slide.
This is a kind of shocking figure really,
which shows I really makes a comparison
of low income countries with high
income countries and in high income
countries at the time the slide
was made a couple of weeks ago,
over 60% of people have had at least
one dose of vaccine. In low income countries,
In the country that my wife comes from,
which is a low income country, it's zero.
Not one person vaccinated.
Next slide please.
But there's another statistic
which is similar to this which is
worth thinking more about as well,
and this is the
WHO aspiration of 70% vaccination
of the population,
and I think this is a reasonable
target for WHO to take to the
world and say at least this is
where we should be starting.
Now, if high income countries are
to achieve 70% vaccination,
which many have, the increase
in their health care spending
is around or just under 1%.
For low income countries, it's over 50%.
What does that mean?
They don't have the money,
it means that other things are not done.
Basic health care is not delivered.
People who are working on immunization,
routine immunization programs,
are diverted to COVID activities.
The hospitals are full of patients
so that the people are dying of
then things unrelated to COVID, because
they're not getting treatment or
they have no access to treatment.
So the cost in that respect becomes enormous.
Returning to Australia just for a
moment and we always think of Australia
is the you know the lucky country
where everybody has a fair go well of
course everybody doesn't have a fair
go and if we look at our indigenous
community we see a group that is
really disadvantaged, and this has been
highlighted in this recent Lancet paper.
But I've just- in this slide demonstrated
a couple of the key risk factors
for serious outcomes with COVID-19.
These are things that will, could
lead to people having more serious
outcomes and being more susceptible.
Diabetes and chronic respiratory
disease; in both cases in the three
age groups that are shown there,
that is 35 to 45,45 to 55 and over 55.
The incidence or the prevalence
of those conditions in indigenous
people is substantially higher,
and if you add to that poor
housing even in the remote areas,
there is a lot of crowding, extreme crowding
sometimes, and poor
limited access to health care.
Then you can recognize that this is a
group which is at high risk of COVID-19.
In other words,
any reasonable government would put this
at the highest on the highest rank of
their scale of who should be protected.
This is a group that definitely
should be protected. Next slide.
So what's happened?
this is where we are with
vaccination of Indigenous Australians.
At the moment,
if you look at the two blue lines,
the pale blue line is for non indigenous
Australians, and chose the proportion
that have had at least one dose and
the dark blue line is the proportion
that have had two doses of vaccine.
The orange and Red Line are the corresponding
lines for Indigenous Australians -
it's pathetic actually,
and when we saw the outbreak in
Western NSW recently and the way that
the state government responded to that,
I think you can see why.
Next slide please.
Vaccine inequity is a global problem.
It's a huge problem for us
to face immediately now,
but it's not a new problem.
It's a problem that's existed
with other vaccines.
The COVAX facility.
This would be a complex discussion
to explain all of the detail of this,
but on the COVAX facility is something
which was developed as a collaboration
initially by the what we call CEPI,
which is a Coalition for Epidemic
Preparedness and Innovation.
Collaborating with WHO and GAVI,
the GAVI Alliance,
which provides vaccines for the
poorest countries in the world.
And they have then been partnered
by a number of other organisations
and bilateral agencies,
and they got the Gates Foundation
to form COVAX.
COVAX has deals, as they say.
They have secured some vaccines
from the the producers that are
shown in the box on the right.
Looks like there are 11 different vaccines,
but they're not.
Several of them appear at several times,
and that's actually an important point.
The first two vaccines on that list
are from the Serum Institute of India,
the largest vaccine producer in the world.
And Covovax is actually the same
as the as the Nova vaccine,
in which it appears as #7, and
Covishield is the same as the Astra
Zeneca vaccine, which appears as #9.
The others mostly licensed.
Some will be licensed soon.
I'm not sure. So those companies
have made commitments of various
kinds to this COVAX effort to try
and provide vaccines for the world.
But the arrow on the right there
tells you where we are at the
moment while we were in August.
So it's just past August now,
but you can see 330 million doses.
Next slide, please.
But actually at the moment as we speak today,
just under 6 billion doses,
vaccines, have been delivered in the world
so that 330 million is a tiny tiny number.
Now there's been other efforts to
try and deal with this inequity.
Some governments, like Australia,
have given one-off donations.
the United States has given donations.
For example, Moderna
I think 4 million was given to Indonesia,
a number of Asian countries have received
one off donations from the US,
but that's not really a long term more
sustainable way of dealing with it.
There is a question about mixed schedules,
and, uhm, there's been a problem
as we know, with some of the vaccines
not being as effective as others,
the focus is usually on the two
Chinese vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm,
which seemed to have less effectiveness.
I'll come back to that in a second.
Mixed schedules are a way around that,
and they enable countries that are using a
vaccine which they don't think are as good
as it should be, to get a better outcome.
There's also options to boost,
either with a
fractional dose or with a different vaccine.
Next slide please.
And this slide from Thailand demonstrates
just one of these experiments,
and if you just look
on the left there,
the bar on the left represents individuals
and these are antibody levels.
Individuals who have received the one
dose of the Corona Vac Chinese inactivated
virus vaccine and the second dose
they've received the AstraZeneca vaccine.
And that's a pretty good response actually.
And if you compare that to people who
receive two doses of AstraZeneca,
it's substantially better.
And so this raises questions,
and I think people are starting to
think now that these inactivated
vaccines may be very good for priming.
It's a question of how,
how to make best use of the things
we have next slide.
Uh, I don't have a long
time to talk about this.
I'd love to talk more about this,
but this is a quote from Jonas Salk.
Jonas Salk was the inventor
of the first polio vaccine.
Inactivated polio vaccine.
He was also the head of something
called the March of Dimes,
which was actually set up by
the Roosevelt's wife, actually.
Roosevelt himself actually
was a polio victim,
and they did a massive trial of this
vaccine and showed it to be effective.
And when he was asked by a reporter
who actually owns the
intellectual property for this vaccine,
he said there is no patent.
Could you patent the sun? Next slide.
Well, uhm, many vaccine produces since
then since 1955 have slapped patents
on their vaccines and some of them
have become increasingly expensive.
The ones listed there are almost
in order of increasing costs.
Also very valuable vaccines.
But also now we have a new generation of
vaccines which many of us have heard about.
The mRNA vaccines, Adeno vaccines, and some
Protein vaccines - and they have been made,
not necessarily by the companies. We go
right back to the
vaccines that I've listed above there,
most of them are products of academic
institutions. Next slide please.
And the evaluation of these
vaccines is quite important.
The, UM, the COVID-19 vaccines have
been systematically evaluated
mostly by the companies concerned,
and that is a problem because they
have not used standardized methods.
I'll go through this quickly next slide,
There are a whole range
of problems with that,
and it means essentially that we can't
make good comparisons between the trials.
And we draw some strange conclusions.
For example, the Sinovac trial was said to
show that the vaccine was 51% protective.
I analyzed the data using the
same methods that were applied
by one of the American vaccines
and came to 82% protective.
It just depends on which
cases you count, next slide.
Finally, a couple of words about
the TRIPS agreement, which I think
you'll probably talk more about
further on in this discussion.
OK, uh, which is basically something
that was set up in 1995 as a sort of a
global approach to intellectual property,
and I just want to-
I don't want to talk in detail about this,
except that TRIPS is an agreement
whereby companies can license
products with more or less a global
license that enables them to have an
exclusive right over that product.
Now there's been a claim
against the the use of TRIPS agreements
for vaccines and therapeutics and
diagnostics associated with COVID-19.
South Africa and India
have challenged that, that was
opposed by the big the countries
that big pharmaceutical makers,
US, UK, European Union, but also
opposed by Australia, incredibly.
In May, the US dropped that opposition,
but it was September before the
Australians finally dropped that, and I
can't explain that, next slide please.
Next slide. So my site.
This is my- sorry,
can you go back?
This is my final slide really, and
that is to just ask the question
who really owns any new vaccine?
I think that it's time that we started
to regard COVID-19 vaccines that were
developed in a partnership that
involves government, academia, companies.
They are really public goods, and
they should be treated as such and
I'm worried by the way that some
of the companies are behaving,
but I won't go on about that.
And I'll stop. Thank you very much.
Thank you, thank you Kim and uh,
thank you very much for running us through
those details about how
we've arrived at the place we're in.
I'm going to go straight to a question
that's come up in the chat for you both,
which is a question about the idea that
has come up about third vaccines in
high income countries, and people are
concerned that if that is a move, it
will reduce the availability even
further for those in poorer nations.
I wonder if you might comment on that.
Um, David, you want to speak to that first?
Yeah, this is a question.
This is a question of great concern,
and WHO is very worried about this.
There's been a push in America,
for example, to bring in a third vaccine,
even six months after the second dose,
and Pfizer actually, interestingly,
has been pushing this for
perhaps for commercial reasons,
but it's- these are vaccine doses
that should be going to people who,
up to now had no vaccine opportunities.
So I think this is a real problem.
And we have to see this in terms
of global fairness and equity.
You know, as individuals
of course, you may get slightly better
protection by having a third dose,
but I don't see this as being
a broad solution.
The exception, though,
is some very high risk individuals
and high risk individuals,
including the elderly,
may be suitable for getting a third dose,
and we think a fractional dose.
Might be enough, and these things
are currently under consideration.
I definitely don't
agree with this idea of giving
a third dose to everybody, over.
maybe I'd just add Penny that
Kim is right there.
There's really no evidence to
show that we need a third dose,
but a lot of this is due to confusion
about what the vaccine really does.
Some politicians don't really
understand that these vaccines do
not protect against infection 100%.
They protect against serious
illness and death and that's
what they should be used for.
And even in Israel,
where they've begun to give
booster doses very early,
the vaccines were still protecting
against serious illness and death.
But they saw a decrease in their
ability to prevent infections
in people who were vaccinated,
and so they thought they needed to begin.
Whereas these vaccines,
this generation of vaccine anyway,
is not a vaccine which will help in
herd immunity as such because of the
lack of duration of protection or the
lack of protection even in some people.
Kim, did you want to add more to that or not?
uh not really, I wanted actually
to address something else which
has come up from on in the
chat actually, and it's ahh-
whether the patent protection
should be waived.
This is essentially what people
are asking and
and I think it's important to recognize
that patent protection of vaccines
is complex, is not a protection
of the molecule, it's a protection of the
whole business of producing the vaccine.
And for some vaccines that especially
the more old fashioned ones,
it's relatively straightforward
that other companies could pick
up a recipe and make a vaccine.
But for example, for the mRNA vaccines,
it's not straightforward at all,
and it's not just a question of
patenting the molecule,
but it's all the processes that go into it.
I think the companies have to come on
board here and recognize that they have
a moral obligation to actually become.
You know, citizens of the world
and become part of the solution,
and I think some have shown signs of
this, and and some have not actually.
David, did you wish to add to that?
No, Kim is right.
You know, I remember back in the early 2000's
the World Health Organization tried to-
they had a commission actually trying
to understand how intellectual
property could be replaced by some
other mechanism which would ensure
that new developments such as the
mRNA vaccines could be in the public
domain from the start. And they really
didn't come to any solution except
that governments should invest
more in research and development.
But even when that happens,
is Kim said earlier, ass for
the mRNA vaccines when governments
heavily invested in them,
the company still were able to patent
them and make it very difficult
to get them off patent.
So there needs to be a solution,
and that solution is not easy to come
by as we've shown by this commission
back at WHO in the early 2000s.
and just from what you just said David,
I think my understanding is
it's more than 20 years
the development process for mRNA vaccine.
It wasn't that Pfizer just sort of woke up
in the morning and got this bright idea.
It's 20 years of research,
most of which I think was
probably within NIH in US.
in the NIH uses public funding
and includes private sector and
then the patent is taken by the
private sector as they move ahead.
So what you said earlier about a
public good and providing resources
by governments is absolutely true.
When governments provide the funding,
it's taxpayer money.
Can I respond to the vaccine
Yes please, please do.
I was gonna go to that next.
Yeah, no, it's
it's a term that was raised by
the WHO DG, Dr Tedros,
and absolutely right.
There are a couple of different
aspects to this of course,
but one that I think is being referred
to in this question is not,
you know. my country first,
which is one aspect of it.
But rather the use of vaccines
in a sense politically.
And you know,
people have accused China of this,
and certainly Chinese vaccines
have been made available to the
poorer countries of the world.
That doesn't mean that they, that
the Chinese had a bad intent.
The vaccines that were being made
available to the poorer countries
of the world may not have been
the most effective vaccines.
But they're the same vaccines that are
being used on a very large scale in China,
and I think that we have to recognize
you know, there is a kind of sort
of a grey zone as it were between
donations that are made for
let's say, political or other
nationalistic sort of reasons
and for humanitarian reasons,
and I would include in that grey zone
most of Australia's efforts in this area.
OK, thank you. David,
did you want to add to that?
No, nothing to add to that.
Kim is right on target with that.
OK, thank you. So another question from
the chat and I will just read it,
in case you haven't had the opportunity.
Do you think with higher vaccination
rates, Australia and other countries
should stop lock down and open up to
continue to close to normal pre COVID-19?
Oh, can I please answer this?
This is- I'm sorry David,
our politicians have been banging on
this story for I don't know how long, and
you know, they unfortunately they got
some modeling done by our institutions.
That said somehow it's 70% and 80%
of all the problem was solved.
That's fine. NOTE Confidence: 0.90741804
I live in the city of about 5 million.
If 80% of people are vaccinated,
that means 1 million people are
not vaccinated, and these
are 1 million adults.
And if you throw in then
children who are still too
young to be vaccinated-
That's a very large number of
people for the virus to attack.
When you think about measles and you know,
measles virus can get
through even with a smaller fraction
of the population susceptible.
But there's no doubt that there
would be a huge epidemics, and what
I would say to the people who are
arguing like this is have a really
close look at a number of United
States states, and many of those states are
like an object lesson in this
issue it's not so simple. And the
this idea of will go back to normal
and we all go to our bars and you
know football matches and all the rest of it.
No, not for a while.
I just- I feel like it's not a
it's not a black and white thing.
It's a very slow process.
And unfortunately with the political
leaders that we've got at the moment,
there is going to be a lot of stop start
because they'll probably go too far.
And then we'll have to go back.
And you know, yesterday on The Lancet
online we published an article,
a group of us from London School of
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the
Singapore School of Public Health,
about the elimination strategies that
poor countries had including Singapore,
Australia and New Zealand.
And it's very interesting to see how
these countries are modifying now.
Their understanding is that lockdowns
have really possibly decreased the
population immunity, at the same time
though they have saved lives and
it's a very difficult balance
to walk between those two,
and you'll see how these countries
are proposing to get out of the
lockdowns now and they're
they're doing it in the right way,
and you know,
you can't criticize countries for
having protected the vulnerable
but there might have been other
ways of doing it
than just these severe lockdowns. In fact,
if you look and see what countries in
like Japan and Singapore,
did, they had surgical lockdowns
where they knew where transmission
was occurring and they shut that
down rather than entire economies.
So it's an article that some
may be interested in reading.
I'd be happy to forward the hypertext
if you'd like me to do that.
OK, thank you that would that
would be good and so perhaps if
I could return to the question
both of you have raised about
the responsibility of the
How can they contribute to this?
The equity and access of COVID
vaccines or other treatments?
I think we have to recognize that they are.
I think we,
you know we sometimes tend
to demonize these companies and
maybe I do as well because
of the actions that they take
that seem to be only you know,
only after the money and greed and so on.
But the pharmaceutical companies
are large and complex institutions
and we know many people in these
companies that are working very
hard for really idealistic reasons.
So within the company there
are always many different
forces. The question of
there are different forces
that seem to prevail,
and I'd see different patterns of
behavior in the different companies.
I think they can be edged towards more,
let's say more socially minded policies
and I think there will be, that's my view.
I agree with that and I think
seminars like this one today are
very important in putting out
the real understanding that people
have about access to the vaccines
and to other goods as well.
And you know,
you can't make this solution without
sitting down with the pharmaceutical
companies with the activists with
the people who need the vaccines
and negotiate together because it
just doesn't do right to bash one
sector when everybody has to be
involved in the final solution.
And you know,
until we can replace pharmaceutical
companies with something else,
we won't have new products. We have to
depend on them for these new goods.
So thank you very much,
Penny for all questions.
Thank you very much.
Appreciate you both need to go.
Thank you so much for joining us and
and all the best with the rest of your days.
Thank you very much.
So, very much thanks to Professor
Mulholland and Professor Heyman
for that fascinating discussion.
And to you all for your questions.
So I would now like to introduce
our next guest, Tom Buis.
Tom is a global health advocate at Wemos,
and he advocates for the realization of
equitable access to affordable medicines
worldwide, so thank you, Tom.
Please take the floor.
Thank you very much, Penny,
and thank you very much for the
RMIT University and the Business and
Human Rights Center for having me to
speak on this very important topic.
Uhm, Wemos is a global health
organization that has 40 years,
over 40 years, of experience in
access to medicines. And within
the access to medicines program,
we used to have a very much a
focus on Dutch and EU policies.
But with COVID-19 we've had an
increased focus on the global level.
So the World Health Organization
and World Trade Organization.
But within Wemos,
we have other different teams
that work on finance for health,
human resources for health.
So that is a short introduction to
the organization I work with and
today I will try and provide an
overview of the current status of
inequitable distribution of vaccines.
And I would also like to share some
information on the global initiatives
that try and counter this inequity,
and there might be some overlap with
Professor Mulholland's presentation,
but I might be able to build up on
some of the things mentioned by him.
So next slide, please.
So on this first, um,
image that I would like to show you is-
what you can see here is prediction that was
made by The Economist by the end of 2020,
and this was around the time when
the first vaccines were approved by
the regulatory bodies in the European
region and in the United States.
So that's the EMA and the FDA, and the
first vaccines were coming to the
market and they the people that they come,
is predicted when the Corona vaccine
would become widely available to
the population in the different
countries around the world.
And what they estimated was that,
especially for the European region,
the North American region and Japan,
vaccines would become widely available
in September 2021.
And another thing that we can notice from
this map is that the African region,
the Central Asian region and the
Southeast region of Asia,
or the prediction was that they would
have very late access to COVID vaccines
only in April 2022 or 2023
would they get access to COVID vaccines.
So I would like you to keep in mind,
this map, as we go to the next slide.
Which is one of the images that
Professor Mulholland showed as well,
which is, like he mentioned,
almost a complete
inverse of the relation between
poverty and access to vaccines.
And there's again two things
that stand out that African
region is lagging behind substantially,
with most African countries having
a vaccination grade of around 4%.
Currently, uh the Netherlands,
where I'm from,
we have a vaccination grade of around 85%.
So yeah, it's yeah it's-
It's really troublesome this difference.
So the prediction prediction made by the
people at The Economist became a reality.
A substantial amount of the high income
countries has already administered more
than 100 vaccine doses per 100 inhabitants,
and one of the main drivers of this
unequal access to COVID vaccines is a
lack of local manufacturing. And, uh,
there's two main barriers to this
lack of local manufacturing capacity.
One being the lack of intellectual
property sharing, and the other one being
the lack of know-how sharing.
And the know-how barrier arises because of the
complex biological nature of vaccines like
the previous presenters mentioned.
mRNA vaccines especially are very
complex biological products that
differ substantially from the
old medicines that we
are still using and used to use,
which are called the small
They have completely different
those ones for the vaccines
can be quite complex,
and because they are so complex,
there's a relatively small amount
of people that have the knowledge
on how to produce vaccines.
So I would argue that sharing this
knowledge is essential in scaling up
local manufacturing capacity so the
other barrier is intellectual property.
I see it as a barrier because it
prevents companies from manufacturing
existing and proven to be safe vaccines.
So even if there is companies around the
world that have the know how to produce them,
they are simply not able to because
of the intellectual property restrictions.
There are some companies
that have licenses
that allow third party producers
to start producing
a COVID-19 vaccines,
but it's simply not enough.
It's like, this map says it all.
There's simply not enough production.
Even if there would be enough
production, fair distribution of
the vaccines is still a problem.
I saw some questions in the chat
that raised this question of
these booster vaccines, right?
It's like mentioned before.
It's Israel that already started providing
booster shots to their population.
the United States has started as
well, and there's various countries
in the European region that are
planning to or have already
started providing these
booster vaccines. And I think it's very
unethical considering that most
African countries are still with
the vaccination grade of under 4%.
But it also poses an epidemiological
provide booster shots to people that
have already received two vaccine doses,
and not provide these vaccines to
people that have received any dose,
we promote the rise of new mutations.
So I would like to argue that
unequal availability of vaccines
is not only a problem for lower
middle income countries,
it's everyone's problem, as new mutations
might run their vaccines less effective.
Next slide, please.
So there's many different initiatives
around the world to counter in equity
and access to COVID-19 vaccines,
but I would like to highlight just three.
So the first one is COVAX,
which was mentioned previously as well.
So COVAX is funded, is governed by CEPI,
GAVI, UNICEF and the WHO.
And it's basically a funding mechanism
for lower middle income countries
to come to purchasing agreements,
so it's high income countries
taking care of the funding.
Of the purchasing agreements
of low income countries.
And they had the initial goal of,
uh, to administer 20% of the
population in lower middle income
countries with COVID-19 vaccines,
and they've currently
shipped 311 million doses.
We at Wemos,
we do not see COVAX as a structural
solution as it only functions by the
goodwill of high income countries.
we do see that could be a role for COVAX
in creating access to COVID-19
vaccines in the acute crisis phase,
but it does not provide
structural structural change
that is needed.
It doesn't overcome the
intellectual property barrier.
It doesn't overcome the know-how barrier,
and it maintains the current power
imbalance between pharmaceutical companies
and the low and middle income countries.
So for the the second initiative,
that is the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool
and C-TAP, or it's also called C-TAP's,
so C-TAP is governed by the WHO and
it's partnered by the Medicines
Patent Pool and Unit 8.
It was founded early 2020 when there
were not any vaccines on the market yet
that were proven to be safe and effective.
Uhm, but there were already quite
some experts that warned that if
there would be a vaccine on the market,
the manufacturing capacity
wouldn't be sufficient.
What they proposed in C-TAP is
that governments, universities,
they could all pool knowledge,
intellectual property and data,
in return for financial compensation,
so that financial compensation
could come in any shape or form.
It could come in
prize money, it could come in royalty,
a tiered royalty system and that's
actually something that is
also still up for discussion.
So the way you could see C-TAP is
that it matches the knowledge,
or intellectual property, with
global unused manufacturers,
which can produce,
a vaccine for their own region.
And at Wemos, we see it as providing
a more structural solution since it
promotes local manufacturing capacity,
making countries less
dependent on high income countries
and pharmaceutical companies
from the richer countries.
The downside of C-TAP is that it's based on
voluntary cooperation from pharma companies.
But this we think at Wemos
that this can be countered with conditioning
public funding for research and development.
Something we might be able to
touch upon in the Q&A.
So for Wemos,
this is the preferential
global initiative that is
around to counter the inequity
and access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Then I would like to finally
touch upon the last initiative
that I would like to summarize,
which is the TRIPS Waiver. So.
The TRIPS Waiver was put forward
by South Africa and India, and they
made a proposal to temporarily
waive all intellectual property
related to any COVID-19 technology,
so that could be treatments for COVID-19.
It could be vaccines,
it could be diagnostic tools,
and most countries in the world
are supportive of this proposal.
Like mentioned before, Biden
switched U.S. position earlier
this year, but only for the
intellectual property on vaccines.
So U.S. doesn't want to support the part
that waives the intellectual property
on treatments or diagnostic tools.
Currently the the negotiations
on the TRIPS Waiver have been
going on for over a year.
Last week it was exactly a year,
and the countries that are opposing this
TRIPS waiver made by South Africa
and India are Switzerland, Norway,
United Kingdom and other countries
in the European Union.
it's very troublesome because I think
if we want to achieve equitable access
we have to overcome three main barriers.
It's the IP and know-how barrier,
it's overcoming the
hoarding of vaccines or
the vaccine nationalism.
And we have to overcome the
dependency that lower middle income
countries experience, as this is not
providing a structural solution.
So we are not reaching the goals that we
have set ourselves as a global community,
and this has all to do with the
attitude and the policy choices
of high income countries.
So I would like to close with
saying that the ball is in our
court, our court meaning
high income countries, we from
high income countries, and we have
to do something about it.
So thank you very much for your attention.
Thank you, thank you very much, Tom,
and thank you for bringing us into
the territory of global governance.
I've got just a little
question of clarification.
Is the C-TAP just for COVID, or
is it also for other vaccines?
Or technologies? So C-TAP is made
just for COVID-19 technologies,
so that can be diagnostic tools
that can be used for COVID-19.
It can be for treatments that
are safe and effective against COVID-19.
There is a similar initiative that is
around for other other diseases as well.
It's called the Medicines Patent Pool.
But the Medicines Patent Pool
is focused a bit more on just
the intellectual property part,
and what sets apart C-TAP is that
it also pulls the knowledge that
is needed to produce the actual
vaccine or treatment.
So it goes beyond just intellectual property.
It also encompasses the knowledge.
OK, thank, thank you very much.
So now with your permission, Tom,
and with Rebekah joining in,
I'd like to open up to a broader
questions from the chat to
broaden out this conversation.
So welcome back, Rebekah.
Happy to have you have you here,
so come the first question I'm going to
ask you is a wish question.
What would both of you like to see in place
before we might face the
prospect of another pandemic?
I know that perhaps is jumping
ahead a little bit, yes,
what do we need in place?
Tell him I'm happy for you
to jump in there. OK thanks.
Yeah I think some of the issues we have seen
during the COVID-19 pandemic is that,
well, it's one of the topics that
we've really worked on over the over
the last years or so before COVID-19 is
that, there is quite a substantial amount
of money being put into medical R&D.
And I think this public funding,
uh, that is being given by
governments around the world
should be conditioned with
pro-public interest conditions so.
If there is a transfer of funding from a
government to a public research institution,
to pharmaceutical company,
I think it would be great
if there would be like,
some guidance on if there would be a
vaccine or treatment resulting from
that funding that that knowledge or
intellectual property would be shared.
And for instance in C-TAP or for
instance in the Medicines Patent Pool,
because then we then we really get
to the core of the issue because then
we can make it a global public good.
And that's what the previous
speakers have mentioned as well.
That's what we need.
We need it to be a global public good.
So I think conditioning public funding
would be a huge win for,
for everyone, basically.
Great thank you, Rebekah.
Did you want to respond?
I think that what this discussion that
we've had today has shown is that the
relationships and the conversations
that have between, that we could have
between different disciplines between
doctors and lawyers and academics and
advocates shows that there's great
collaboration that needs to take place.
And I would like to see a
situation where that collaboration
can happen much more quickly
and more easily so that groups are mobilized
are able to come together and work
together to be able to respond to the
particular nuances of whatever global
pandemic hopefully does not hit us next.
But to have these sorts of relationships
in place that those groups and
those advocates and actors can just
coalesce, and to come into the same room
and to be able to talk about these
issues with the technical expertise
feeding into those conversations.
That can then turn into real
conversations with government, and
with pharmaceutical companies, to
have really positive outcomes.
Thanks. Thank you, and Rebekah,
if I could stay with you,
you raised a very important
point about clinical trials.
Can you tell us if there's any
reform initiatives that are relevant
to that issue that you raised?
Sure, thanks Penny.
I guess the the problem of clinical
trials of the ethics of clearing
clinical trials that we're seeing now
in relation to the COVID-19 vaccines,
and there are limited reports as to what's
occurring in those clinical trials.
But as I mentioned before these
go to issues in terms of lack of
informed consent and lack of beneficience.
Issues around recruitment processes, etc.
And most importantly,
post-trial access to a vaccine
once a person or a community has
been involved in the vaccine trial
process, and this is a
problem that has been going on for
a long time, and we're talking about
decades now that we've uncovered
that there has been ethical issues
raised in clinical trials in
offshore locations. And Wemos is
one of the most important organisations
that have been working in this field,
conducting investigative reports into
clinical trials in offshore locations.
So I think that the fact that
it has sort of gained some media
attention in relation to the COVID-19
vaccines suggests that this is
a problem that that still
continues and still requires further
consideration of how we prevent
what's often termed using
using individuals in the global
South as guinea pigs
for those who receive medicines and
receive vaccines in the global north.
And I think that there's there
are a number of things that we
probably should be looking at.
And most importantly,
it's ensuring that pharmaceutical
companies where they,
when they're conducting clinical trials,
uphold their obligations under the
international instruments that
they're required to do so and and
their own policies that they they set
in terms of their ethical obligations.
Right, thank you. Tom?
Did you want to comment?
No, I think that was that was a great answer.
I have nothing to add.
nowI've got a shorter question and
a longer question, so I'm going to
go to the shorter question first.
So there is a question that's asking,
and Tom you were talking about
the your preference for
supporting local production
in your solutions,
is it possible in African nations that
they do have the capacity to produce
vaccines, should that be the case?
Yeah, thank you.
I think that's a very relevant
question and actually one of
our partner organizations,
Knowledge Ecology International,
has done research into this and they
found that there's globally 140
potential COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers.
And there's also potential
manufacturers in the African region, so.
vaccines can be very complex
there is knowledge available in the
African region, in the Asian region,
in the South American region, all over
the world that are able to produce
at least a part of the vaccines.
So it could be a fill and finish facility.
It could be a facility that produces
the active pharmaceutical ingredient.
But yes, there is knowledge
available in these countries.
where knowledge is lacking,
I would like to say that C-TAP
could play an essential role,
It's the broker that matches the
knowledge and the intellectual property
that big pharmaceutical companies
have with the production facilities
in lower middle income countries so.
That's why we think that Cetap
could play such an
important role in this discussion.
OK, thank you and and coming back to the
question of human rights responsibilities.
Uh, do you think that pharmaceutical
companies have changed their
practices in response to their human
rights due diligence requirements?
Or perhaps even of legislative
changes at the national or even in
the European Union for Human Rights
Is that having an impact on on the companies?
Should I take this question
Rebekah? Please go ahead.
OK, yeah, I think that's
very difficult to really say.
Also because that differs quite
a bit per pharmaceutical company.
So what we can actually see is
that for instance, AstraZeneca
delivers a lot of vaccines to COVAX,
which is quite the opposite to Moderna,
which, if I'm not mistaking,
hasn't delivered any vaccines
yet to COVAX.
So there is actually something I would
like to point out that there is this
foundation in the Netherlands,
it's called the Pharmaceutical
which has scored different
pharmaceutical companies on business
ethics, and I think the
UN GP's human rights is
part of the scorecard.
It's called the GCCP and I will
forward the link that you
can send to all the attendees,
so I think yeah,
have a look at that and there's a
whole scorecard of all the different
pharmaceutical companies that get
scored on their human right actions.
OK, great, thank you and Rebekah.
Thanks, Penny. I think it's,
I think it's really important that
you mentioned or you're talking
about the human rights aspects
to this debate and I believe it's
important that we're framing this as
a business and human rights issue,
or at least in one respect a
business and human rights issue.
And the human rights
due diligence is an important part of that,
and we've seen a number of different
legislative frameworks being introduced
across a number of different countries,
Australia included, as to how companies
including pharmaceutical companies
are required to ensure that they
them or their subsidiaries or not
in breach of human rights obligations,
and I think it's probably
bigger than that.
And we can really turn to the
United Nations guiding principles
along with the OECD guidelines
on Business and Human Rights.
As I said before,
we know that business does have a
respect human rights under the UN GP's
and in particular principle 12 requires
the minimum standards for respecting
and in this context that's the right to life.
The right to health.
The right to a decent standard
of living, and again just making
note of Professor John Ruggie's
very important contribution to the
UN G's and the legacy that he
liked that he leaves behind there.
But we're also we're also talking there,
I guess, about this sort of shift from
the idea of shareholder primacy
towards stakeholder governance and from
that concept of the legal separate
entity to parent company responsibility,
and so I think we need to be not to
say that this is, that we should be
looking at some sort of litigious action.
But I think that we need to look back
at our UN GP's, look back at our OECD
framework and look back at the
human rights diligence,
due diligence frameworks, and test
them in this space.
Test them in light of, or in the context
of a global emergency and see what
what the rights and responsibilities of
pharmaceutical companies really are.
So I think that there's a lot to be
done in this space from the perspective
of business and human rights,
and I know that there are a number of
business and human rights people in
this audience, so we have a lot of work
ahead of us.
OK, thank you and thank you both for
your willingness to move into some
of the deeper and stickier issues
in this second part of the talk.
Thank you very much.
I'm going to ask you both to make
some final comments before it's
time for us to close,
so perhaps I'll ask Tom if you have
a final comment you would like to make.
Yes, thank you Penny.
I think I would just really like to
stress again with the
last sentences in my presentation
that the ball is really in our court
and the the inequity of COVID-19
vaccines is not a problem
that is just for low and in lower
middle income countries.
It's our problem as well, and I think
that is an argument that needs to be
repeated with all the policymakers
in high income countries.
So I think that's,
that's my definitely my take.
It take home message.
Thank you very much Tom. Rebekah?
I just like to note the important
role that's being played in this
space by a number of civil society
organizations and advocacy
organizations and Wemos is
really one of those very important
organizations who are doing
some great work in this space,
but others, including Public Eye,
Public Citizen, Human Rights Watch,
many others who are really trying
to educate and advocate and lobby so
that we do see some positive reform.
Particularly in those global north countries,
but I just I think that this has
been a fantastic session to have
these these discussions and I really
look forward to more discussions
like this in the future.
Thank you, thank you, Rebekah,
and thank you Tom, and thank you for
leaving us with with that very clear
message that we need to keep taking
action on this important issue.
I thank you both for your comments
and your time.
We're now out of time so thank you.
I'd like to thank all of the
audience for joining
us today. It's been a pleasure having
your questions and responding to them.
You can contact BHRIGHT
on the slide here,
please get in touch if you have any
questions on our page you will see
more events from BHRIGHT and you can
follow us on LinkedIn or on Twitter.
Looking forward to hearing from
you and and seeing you all again.
Thank you so much everybody.
Providing access and protection to illegal workers with Andy Hall.
Providing access and protection to illegal workers with Andy Hall.
But yeah, I focused my
My research was looking at
criminal responsibility for
occupational accidents and deaths.
And then that took me to
Thailand, and when I was in Thailand
I started to see a lot of workplace
accidents and diseases that were
suffered by migrant workers who
were essentially irregular workers.
So they're coming in illegally
from Myanmar because there was no
formal channels for them to come in,
and they couldn't access Social Security,
and they couldn't access work access
benefits and and things like that for
their disabilities and their diseases.
And so I have to just, you know,
take on the Thai Government to
try to get them access to this,
these schemes using like a
lot of cases in the court, you know,
using the UN mechanisms.
the Committee on Racial Discrimination.
And so my focus for a long time
was on human rights and migration.
So it was trying to link the abuses
that workers were suffering with
concepts of human rights, and trying
to advocate with the Thai Government.
To basically develop policies and
practices that respected human rights.
As you know,
depending on what,
what treaties they were they were party to,
but also the Treaties that they
were bound by in international law.
And so I focused a lot on this
human rights issue.
So I used to spend a lot of time,
for instance in Geneva at
the UN Human Rights Council.
Actually, once once Thai government
actually paid for me to go to Geneva
to listen into the migrant committee and in Geneva.
I focused a lot on that kind of thing and.
And I used to do a lot of press
statements and legal challenges,
but it was all focusing on the law,
human rights and migration.
And then in
2011 I think, 2012,
I became quite good friends with a diplomat,
a Thai diplomat, and he was basically
advising me that, you know, my
work was really exceptional and
and really good and positive,
but it wasn't really hitting home because
I was only focusing on theories and
concepts of human rights, and he kind
of introduced me to this issue of
business and human rights instead,
you know, well if you link the abuses
that are happening to migrant workers
in Thailand, with the global supply
chain and with the business issue,
then maybe you will be more
effective in the work you are doing,
because in Thailand just focusing on
human rights when it's not a country
that really respects basic human rights
according to international definitions,
it's not really going to be very effective.
So we linked to business and supply chains
and consumers and international markets,
maybe you'll have more effect, so, uh.
At the same time I was invited by Finnwatch,
which is a you know,
in the Nordic countries they
Finnwatch and Danwatch,
And then there's another one,
there's a couple of them
and they all focus their -
they're basically organisations that are
consumer watchdogs, and they do a
lot of work on supply chains and
stuff, and they asked me to do some
research on pineapple and tuna, and
how they were produced in Thailand.
So I did that research, and to
cut a long story short,
I mean, the research was quite
important but it wasn't actually
powerful in terms of the media influence,
and we did a press conference in
the Thai Correspondents Club,
Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand,
and then there was a few media there,
but it didn't really get much media
interest, and it was only when I
was actually prosecuted for my role
in the research.
So actually because I did that research
my name was on the front of the report,
I was actually prosecuted for computer
crimes and criminal defamation
and all these other things.
once I was prosecuted it became
more of a big issue.
But from that time I've really
focused on business and human rights.
So I've looked at poultry and
tourism, and you know construction
projects and recently rubber gloves
with the (COVID-19) pandemic, and seafood and
all these things, and I've linked
the abuses that migrant workers
are suffering with the global supply
chain, and starting to look
a lot more at investors,
the role of investors,
the role of buyers,
you know, US legislation on forced labor.
So I've tried to put the work and the
abuses that are being suffered on the
ground in the context of a business and human rights theory,
and then I
campaigned on those issues to try to
get positive results for workers.
So I mean really,
my life has been a shift from one
focusing on principles and law,
to one really bringing in
the principles of business and
human rights and really applying
them on the ground to concrete
situations with concrete cases.
So it's not really a policy discussion
about theoretical discussion,
it's really taking real cases
of abuse and linking them in
through the business and human rights
perspective to take action.
Right, thank you so much.
It's really fascinating.
The work that you've done,
how you how you've done the research
and linked it to the particular abuses.
And I'm, I'm sure later on you'll also
talk about how you've collaborated
with local organizations and others to
undertake that research and advocacy.
We're interested to hear a little bit
more about specifically what you,
what type of social media
have you chosen to use,
and you know what do you find
are the strengths and weaknesses
of using social media,
particularly in trying to amplify, you know,
your research findings and,
and yeah, if you could talk us through a bit,
a few of the different aspects
you have experienced with social media.
I mean here in here in Australia,
we are currently in a battle with
Google and they're actually threatening
to withdraw all their services,
which it's incredible how everything
is connected now through Google.
So it's an interesting experience
we're having at the moment here.
I'd love to hear about how you've used
the different platforms and how you found it.
that could potentially flow onto some of,
talking about through some other
risks that you've experienced as well.
Yeah, I mean I just wanted to say I
mean the research that I've done.
it's been very controversial,
because I mean actually getting
access to workers who have been
abused and who are victims of
forced labor and other things,
it's incredibly difficult,
because who are you to contact them?
And and often they're in factories which,
you know, they can't get out of easily.
Maybe you have to do remote monitoring
using social media, using Facebook Messenger,
using using other chat functions,
and it's really hard to get access and
and, you know, we're doing this in the
context of social auditing, you know.
So for instance,
there's many social audits that are
done on companies in the conditions
of workers, and most famous has been,
of social auditing that we saw.
in Bangladesh during the
Rana Plaza incident and other things.
And these social auditors have
access to the factory,
they have access to the workers
they spend many days there,
sometimes not many days at all,
but they they should spend many
days there, and they have access
to all the workers to do their
research. And then also you,
of course, you have a company - the
company has access to all the workers
because the company is in control.
But as an activist or as a Unionist or
whatever, you have access to a limited number
and so my research is, really I would
say it's activist research you know.
And once I was in a court, and the court
actually the court that convicted me,
I was acquitted at the Supreme Court level.
But the judge said to me,
you know, "I want to see the written
transcripts of your interviews with
workers in the pineapple factory.".
And I said, "Well,
I don't have any transcript",
and I gave him a sheet of A3
paper with scribbles on it, and it was
it was separated into 12 different
columns, and it was twelve workers
that I interviewed and it was just
scribbles, and he said "Well is that
your research notes?" I said
"Yeah," I said "that's my research notes.".
He's like "So, you based the whole international
campaign on this one page of scribbles?".
I said "yes" and he said,
"but I want to see like the affidavit,
I want to see a signed, you know,
consent from the workers that, you know, you
you've done an interview with them.
You've described, transcribed the interview.
You've given them the transcription,
they've checked through the transcription,
You've translated the transcription,
You've edited the transcription,
and then they've signed it." and I said,
"well, it's not the way it works.".
You know, I'm doing activist research,
so I think it's important to put
that in context that you know my
research is very much activist.
And I would never claim
that it's 100% accurate.
I would never claim it's it's, uh,
the reliability, or the generalised reliability.
but I believe in the truth of my
own research because of my own
methods of doing the research.
So I mean, once you know,
once you do this research and again,
research as I say,
it can mean many different things.
You know for me,
I remember when one of my supervisors
was a witness in my trial, and she
stood up in the court, and she said
"doing one interview with one migrant
worker is research", you know.
So and they were trying to
argue that I needed to interview
like 50% of the work population to
make sample statements, and things
is enough. So when we talk
about campaigning when we talk,
it may well be
that is based on you know.
scraping the Internet or it may
well be that it's based on more
academic research that goes on
with a with a with an organization
over a long period of time,
or it may well be like one of these
watchdogs that I work with and we do
reports together. So you know, there's
many different things and the
way in which you're gonna use social
media will adapt, you know.
I mean often, you know, one of the...
I think in the past especially,
I mean, you know whenever
you had something to say,
you would say it through a
press statement, you know.
So you would basically prepare whatever
you wanted to say into a press statement,
and then you would launch that
press statement via email.
And I mean even the past actually,
you would even
launch the press statement via fax,
so you would fax it to everybody
and you would have all these media
numbers, and you would go through them
one at a time and you would find the
number and then you would fax it.
And then within a few years, the
fax is kind of finished and then
you turn to email, so you would
then email the statements.
And the statement,
I mean the document itself,
a statement is a very short,
you know, document.
It can usually be one page, two pages.
The less professional you are,
maybe three pages or four pages and
then attached to the statement.
You may well have a question
and answer sheet,
or you may well have a
more expansive sheet.
You know, it's kind of like a research
report that has an executive summary
and has a full report because
you know media are not generally,
unless it's an investigative,
you know element,
they're not gonna read the full report,
they're just going to read
an executive summary.
And then as the years have gone on,
you know, even a press statement is too much.
For most media.
So you know,
we've gone from one page or two
page that press statement.
With a lot of, you know, references
and reports that you can read,
if you want more information.
And what we've essentially come down
to over the years is like, 146
character tweet, you know.
So I mean, whilst a research report
was a fax,
or was a press statement, has
now become a tweet, you know.
And so, you know, media and those
people who are often influenced
by campaigning, will often - the
only chance you're going to get
is through a tweet, you know?
And it may well be that, you know, they
may not even read the attachment.
You know you can put a link to
or you know, it's the same. I use,
I use Twitter. I use Facebook.
You can make a Facebook post.
I use LinkedIn.
You can make a LinkedIn post. And
I'm sure there's lots of others.
I know some people use Instagram and some
people use different other platforms.
And then I also use WhatsApp.
And I also use Line, you know.
And some Viber, and some other
you know, programs people are using.
Some people are moving to telegram and to,
what's the other one?
Signal now also,
but you know often when you're campaigning,
the only chance you get to get someone's
attention is a very short message, you know.
So you're gonna send a
message to them with a clear,
you know, something that really grabs
their attention. And then you're gonna
have a link, you know, from which
they can get further information.
So, that's what a lot of the campaigning
comes down to these days really,
is grabbing peoples attention.
And yes, you know you can still -
I would always start a
campaign with a with an email.
I would always send out an email
with the with the overview of
the issue that I'm campaigning
on, or that overview of the
the issue that I want to present, and
I would have a I would have an email.
I would have a a press statement.
I would also have a
detailed like question and answer, or
some kind of supplementary document.
But actually, in reality,
most people would never pay
any attention to that,
but once I put the the the the
press statement out there or
I sent the email out there,
I would then start to use social
media to some limit now to try
to get people's attention.
And I want to move to questions.
Uh, sorry, you've frozen for me.
I'm not sure if it's for everyone.
I'm just waiting for you to.
Come come back online,
it's a, it's a challenge.
And I mean certainly Twitter,
very often they do like man,
you know people they like,
get like notification and people do.
Yeah sorry, there's a little delay.
Oh yeah, it's OK now.
Yeah, yeah all good.
I might just, if it's OK, I might just move
on to a couple of the risks that you've
experienced with social media, and then
I'd love to hear from our participants,
who I'm sure might have
some questions for you.
You know, many of you know,
obviously, doing a PhD,
there's a very rigorous way that
people are conducting their interviews,
and they're going through all
those checks and balances that
you were talking about before.
So could you could you sort of,
wrap up by talking us through, like, some
of the risks that you've experienced
both to yourself, but also to maybe
participants or workers in the use of
different platforms, including
social media and how you've
gone about protecting yourself?
can you hear me OK?
Yeah it's OK, so I'm, yeah, I mean,
obviously, it's a lot of litigation
that goes on these days, you know,
especially to people on the ground.
So international organizations are somewhat
immune to this kind of litigation,
but people actually working on the
ground in countries at risk. They can,
they can face a lot of we call them 'SLAP',
'Strategic Litigation Against
Public participation' lawsuits.
Or you know,
judicial harassment, so you know,
anything that you're putting out
publicly it has to be,
you have to be careful, you know,
and I mean, I come from a legal background.
I studied law,
so when I make statements I try
to make them in a very general way.
like I will accuse a company
of forced labor without saying
what elements are forced labor,
they satisfied. Or I will make general
statements and I will try not to
be too specific, because the more
specific you are in your statement,
the more likely you are to fall
foul of this kind of strategic
litigation, because you know,
as I said you know, the information
that you're sharing is not 100% true
'cause you haven't had access to
all the workers and blah blah blah.
you're trying to do your best, so
you know, it's important not to
be too specific unless you have
the real evidence to back it up.
Which of course some journalists do.
they will write the story on an
incredibly specific issue, because
they want to be specific and they
want to focus on that issue.
But it can be a risk,
and so sometimes it's good to be general.
obviously the work that I've been
doing in rubber
gloves. Some of my main
whistleblowers have been found out,
and they've been dismissed and
they've been deported or terminated.
I mean, we've always because
of the pressure that we have,
we've always ensured that workers
can get compensation for this kind
of thing and so, you know.
Because, I mean the work that I do,
you know, that there's huge dynamics going
on in this area of corporate kind of
responsibility and corporate
liability and forced labor and stuff.
There's a lot of dynamics going on,
and you have to realize that you're
not in control of things, you know,
like when something happens,
you have government actors,
you have buyers, you have investors,
you have, you know, corruption.
You have so many different aspects
that are that are involved, and
you also have politics.
You have like 'this is the COVID crisis',
whatever - you have to accept that
when you put things out there,
you're not going to be in control
and you really have to assess
the risks of the situation.
You know, because you want - you don't
want to make anything worse for the workers.
And I think, you know, in my experience,
I never feel that I've campaigned on
an issue which has had a negative
impact on workers in the long run,
and there's been a few cases where
they've been hit quite hard for a couple
of weeks or even a couple of months.
But things have generally improved,
and it's important because it's
often you know you can't actually get
the informed consent from a lot of
workers to do these kind of campaigns.
You know, it's it's not,
you know you can try to get it,
but it's very difficult, so you have
to campaign in a way that's not
going to have a negative impact.
So for instance,
in the gloves issue, I've been able to
come back so strongly on this simply
because the world needs gloves at the moment,
and there's a big shortage of gloves,
so I know that anything that I
campaigned on is not going to have
a negative impact on the workers
themselves at a time when they
desperately need money,
because there's no way that the
company is going to lose its business.
it may well be that producers in
China starts buying the jobs in,
or Russia start buying the gloves
instead of the UK and Europe,
so it may well be that the social
protection is not as strong.
But still I really tried to focus as
much as I can on ensuring that, you know,
there's no negative impact and you do
have to be very, very careful on that.
And, you know, you also need to
think carefully before you put
anything out there publicly.
Twitter is also a bit difficult
because you can't edit tweets, you know.
So I mean yeah,
if something, if something,
you know, if something
goes viral and you know, then you
have to actually delete it,
and then it kind of looks bad.
So especially for Twitter,
you have to be a bit careful. And the
more that you use social media, or the
more that you use social applications to
communicate, then there's more risk.
I mean, it's even like these days -
you know. For instance,
WhatsApp and all these functions,
now they have a an auto delete or an
unsend button, because people are becoming
more and more speedy, and they're
doing things more and more reactively.
They're doing things more
and more impulsively,
and it means that sometimes you're not
thinking carefully about what you do and,
if you do send a message to
somebody and they screen, grab it,
and then you know it's even
though you then try to delete it.
Maybe they it's it's difficult to do so
you know, with the speed of social media.
You have to be cautious,
you know, but that's brilliant.
Thank you so much
everybody for joining today's session
on 'Influencing with social media
with Andy Hall',
I'd like everybody to give a little
like a hand applause in the air for Andy,
I don't think really works.
Ah yes, that's right,
and we can also use the emoji doodah,
which I'm not very good at yet,
Thank you so much Andy for joining
us, and thank you everybody for your
questions and thoughts, and I will
hopefully see you all a bit later
on for our Thought Leader session.
which I'm really looking forward to as well.
So thank you everybody, and have a
little break before we continue.
Bye bye everyone. OK see you.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.