A stakeholder consultative workshop has been held in Bolgatanga, to develop and adopt a resilient National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Ghana.
The development and adoption of the NAP would strengthen Ghana’s commitment to the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and make it the third country in Africa to do so after Kenya and Uganda.
The workshop was organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in collaboration with the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, with funding support from ActionAid, a Non-governmental organisation.
It brought together institutions including CHRAJ, security services, departments of children, gender and social welfare, traditional authorities and the Ghana Education Service.
Mr Jaladeen Abdulai, the Upper East Regional Director of CHRAJ, said a Steering Committee under the Co-Chairmanship of Commission and the Office of the Attorney General was established in 2022, to develop the NAP towards the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles to promote human rights issues in the business environment.
The consultative meeting, he said, was part of a nationwide approach to enlighten stakeholders on the UN Guiding Principles and solicit their input for developing a domestic framework for its effective operationalisation.
Mrs Mary Nartey, a Co-Chairperson of the NAP Steering Committee, noted that apart from the 1992 Constitution, Ghana had over the years ratified numerous regional and international human rights treaties with mechanisms to ensure compliance to human rights standards.
She said although the development of instruments including the Sustainable Development Goals, and Universal Periodic Review had compelled governments to include human rights principles in development strategies as well as activities of businesses that continued to pose adverse impacts on the enjoyment of such virtues.
She said child labour, gender discrimination, water pollution, environmental degradation and destruction of farmlands resulting from activities of the business community, threatened the livelihoods of individuals and infringed upon the rights of the people.
Mrs Nartey said a baseline survey conducted by CHRAJ, had identified key gaps in human rights violations and said the development of the NAP through a participatory approach, would help find inclusive solutions to the problems.
“A resilient NAP requires an inclusive approach for sustainable implementation and as stakeholders we are all involved in the implementation of human rights, that is why the Steering Committee is touring all the 16 regions”, she said.
Mr John Nkaw, the Country Director of ActionAid Ghana, said his outfit had since 2021, through its combating modern slavery project, worked with various stakeholders to address issues of modern slavery and discrimination against the vulnerable and promoted decent work.
It was laudable that the government had taken the step towards developing the NAP to ensure the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on human rights and businesses and urged the Steering Committee to mainstream gender responsive measures in the NAP.
He impressed upon the government to take keen interest and actively participate in the textual intergovernmental negotiations on the United Nations Binding Treaty.
By Anthony Adongo Apubeo
March 31, 2023