Launch of the Study and Ranking of Respect for Human Rights in 100 Indonesian Public Companies


While economic growth can bring great benefits to a country by improving people's welfare, there is always the potential for the business activity that fuels it to have a detrimental impact. Such impacts may not only affect the environment, but also harm society, both collectively and as individual groups. Without a strong commitment to respect human rights, such potential wrongs as violations of labour rights, land disputes and denial of indigenous people’s land rights, and modern slavery can run unchecked.


To counter these and other malpractices in regard to the rights of workers, consumers and society in general, is thus one of the major challenges facing companies in today’s global economy. The adoption of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in June 2011 provided a global norm and guidelines on how this can be carried out. Sadly however, despite the efforts of the likes of The Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards (FIHRRST) in encouraging companies to commit to respecting human rights, uptake has been slow at both a national and global level.    


Thanks to support from the Open Society Foundation, FIHRRST has recently been able to complete its study and ranking on respect for human rights in 100 Indonesian public companies as listed in the KOMPAS 100 index for the period February to July 2018.


The results of the study launched on July 16, 2019, showed that 90 out of the 100 companies assessed scored less than 41%, which led FIHRRST Operational Director Bahtiar Manurung to opine, “This finding shows that the majority of companies are considered as not yet having adequate systems to implement the UN Guiding Principles. In addition, several companies have still not addressed some major human rights issues."


All was not gloom and doom, however, as the study also highlighted four companies, PT Bumi Resources Tbk., PT Sawit Sumbermas Sarana Tbk., PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk. and PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk., who have demonstrated their commitment to respecting human rights and implementing the UN Guiding Principles. The companies’ commitment is demonstrated through their human rights policy and statement on their websites and sustainability reports.


The Chair of FIHRRST, Marzuki Darusman said, "As a foundation, we encourage companies to start adopting the UN Guiding Principles. This ranking study is only an initial step that we expect to carry out each year. Efforts to advance human rights and encourage corporations to respect human rights are a national mission. Therefore, an immediate response from the government on this ranking study is important to show the government’s commitment to protecting human rights.”