Gov’t initiates steps to develop action Plan on Business and Human Rights

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Lmary Nartey
Lmary Nartey

Government has initiated steps to develop a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAPBHR) to protect and safeguard the fundamental human rights of people within the business sphere.

The plan sought to ensure that both state and non-state actors conducted their business activities within the framework of the standards of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPBHR).
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice are spearheading the development of the plan.

On completion, Ghana would be the third African country to draw the NAPBHR after Kenya and Uganda.
At a stakehoders’ consultative workshop in Wa on the Action Plan’s development, Mrs lMary Nartey, Co-Chairperson of the National Action Plan Steering Committee, said when completed, the Plan would be a blueprint for both state and non-state actors and businesses on how to protect and respect the rights of people.

She said it was to ensure that businesses complied with the applicable human rights existing within Ghana and globally and to address any negative impact of their business operations on human rights.

“The realisation of human rights requires a complementary approach hence the consultation on the development of the Action Plan for all of us to respect the rights of all persons,” she said.

Mrs Nartey commended ActionAid Ghana (AAG) and other development partners for providing funding for the stakeholders’ engagements.

Mr Samuel Sabuli, the Project Manager, AAG, in a speech read on behalf of the Country Director of AAG, commended the Government for taking steps to develop a NAPBHR in line with the UN recommendations.

“On daily basis we hear or read about the harrowing stories of employees, consumers, and community members who fall victim to actions of businesses that violate their rights as humans,” he said.

These right abuse actions sometimes lead to environmental pollution, underpaying of workers, or forcefully evicting communities and depriving them of their livelihoods,” he said.

Mr Sabuli appealed to the NAP Steering Committee and the stakeholders to go through the process with a gender-sensitive lens to ensure that gender issues were not relegated to the background in developing the plan.

“This is very important because most often issues of gender are usually not taken into consideration. Let’s ensure that issues of gender in business are catered for,” he said.

The AAG, since its inception in Ghana, had been supporting communities and building their capacities to identify and resist human rights violations in any form.

Mr Ubeidu Siddique, the Upper West Regional Director of CHRAJ, said respecting the fundamental human rights of people was everybody’s business, including business entities.

“It is the thinking that the development, adoption, and effective implementation of a national action plan for business and human rights will only be successfully robust if it receives broader engagement and support among key stakeholders like you,” he indicated.

The stakeholder engagements across the 16 regions of the country are to solicit inputs into the development of the Plan and to appraise stakeholders of the concept of human rights, and the gaps identified in the National Baseline Assessment, conducted earlier.

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