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Business and multinational companies: Mrs. Bouayach calls for developing an African roadmap to protect Human Rights

As part of her participation in the 14th Biennial Conference of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), Mrs. Amina Bouayach, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), called on Wednesday 18 October 2023, in Accra, Ghana, to develop a shared vision and an ambitious roadmap which aims to protect human rights and their effective implementation, in businesses, corporations and multinationals in Africa.

Mrs. Bouayach proposed to her equals in African NHRIs that the 2030 horizon be an objective for the effective implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as a global standard for preventing and addressing the risks of negative impacts associated with business activity on human rights.

Africa is a young continent, affirmed the CNDH Chairperson, aspiring to develop its resources, improve access to health and education and eradicate poverty (...).

Its ambitions and those of its young people face the repercussions of climate change, its threats, etc. Africa is one of the continents contributing the least to these climate changes and yet among the most affected by them.

In addition to the challenges of climate change and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs. Bouayach highlighted concerns that shall be addressed, particularly the questions of African youth, their future and the need to enable them as the world's greatest human resource, to benefit from the opportunities they will create.

Global South will continue to create the wealth of the Global North: was one of the most significant ideas strongly emphasized at the 2023 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund held in Marrakech.

CNDH Chairperson added that independent NHRIs, mainly those accredited with “A” Status, can play a key role in encouraging businesses and multinational corporations to protect human rights, commit to respect them, provide the right to redress and access these rights, and guarantee the effective implementation of human rights due diligence.

Mrs. Bouayach identified four main areas for NHRIs in Africa to engage:
- Advocating and promoting due diligence that ensures sustainability and the protection of human rights;
- Promote commitment to the implementation of regional principles binding on African businesses (as adopted in the European Union area);
- Establish redress mechanisms for victims, handle complaints and investigate potential violations to ensure accountability of entrepreneurs and multinational corporations;
- Exchange experiences and good practices of companies that have implemented human rights due diligence principle.

Mrs. Bouayach said that our engagement should be strong and ambitious to develop a common African vision to protect human rights and guarantee the right to redress and the commitment of companies and multinationals to respect human rights and due diligence.