A stakeholder consultative forum to incorporate the views and contributions of people with disability into a national action plan on business and human rights has been held in Accra.
The forum, which was being held after the completion of similar regional consultations was to engage other critical people such as people with disability to be included in the plan and their voices heard.
A Member of the Steering Committee of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights, Clement Kadogbe, speaking at the forum in Accra yesterday said, the gathering was to ensure the committee came up with a very robust, workable and pragmatic NAP for Ghana.
The forum was made possible through the collaboration between the office of the Attorney General and the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) with support from the Friedrich -Ebert Stiftung.
The development of the NAP was an initiative of the late United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Kofi Annan who about ten years ago highlighted the fact that the current human rights regime did not protect people against businesses and companies.
The proposal was unanimously adopted in July 2011 and it required that countries developed a NAP to give effects to the UN guiding principles on business and human rights.
Mr Kadogbe said the CHRAJ in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration conducted a national baseline assessment to identify the gaps in businesses in the country and the human rights regime.
“Following that, an 18 -member steering committee representing key stakeholders was tasked to develop a NAP on business and human rights for Ghana so that Ghana will join the few countries in Africa like Uganda and Kenya to have a NAP,” he added.
He said the steering committee had so far been to all the regions to consult in order to incorporate the views of everybody into the NAP, having finished with the regional consultations a month ago.
A Deputy Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education, Victor Brobbey, in an interview said the plan should be finalised by the end of this year.
He said the next step after the forum was to finalise the NAP, hold validation workshop and publish the plan.
“We hope to have a national sensitisation with support of the media and also with the business community because they are our partners in this process,” he gave the assurance, saying the NAP will seek to improve the business and human right environment of the country.
Mr Brobbey who is also the Lead Anchor of the NAP Steering Committee, said the UN guiding principles were developed to address human right violations with respect to businesses.
He said the CHRAJ, working with the Attorney Generals Department a few years ago, came to the realisation that the NAP was something the country needed.
That, he explained, would prompt businesses to be more aware of human rights and the need to respond to the NAP process.
Mr Brobbey mentioned the issue of child labour in the cocoa sector, environmental violations and brutalities even by mining companies and said “at universal peer reviews, the UN human right council ask us when we are developing our national action plan to address basic human right concerns.”
He, therefore, assured all stakeholders to expect a comprehensive and bold plan.
By: Chris Nunoo