Stakeholders have advocated the protection of human rights by businesses and owners at the recently concluded review of draft National action plan on businesses and human rights.
Recall that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) unanimously endorsed a global standard on the relationship between businesses and human rights, known as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP/Guiding Principles).
Speaking with Journalists, Global Rights Country Abiodun Baiyewu-Teru said the review of the draft National action plan on business and human rights was based on the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights.
She said “Nigeria is one of the few countries that had initiated the guiding principles and the need for a national action plan, however, many other countries have taken over and have developed their own national action plan on business and human rights, while Nigeria is yet to submit same at the UN”
Speaking on the recommendations from the draft, she said “we have with us the national human rights commission, a few other government agencies and businesses to begin to work on the laws that we have, noting that this is not so different but it is more specific and has got an action plan of how Nigeria should go about in the arraignment of the laws and the policies and which institution should be responsible.
“Because impunity is why a lot of things go wrong in Nigeria, not so much corruption , so the NAP will ensure which institutions should respond to what issues and how government should ensure that rights are protected, that remedies are available and how accesses to these remedies are provided for as well as how businesses will ensure that rights are protected were all enumerated clearly in the document.
She said the essence of the meeting was for them to be able to seat together as stakeholders and to think how to begin to walk development, human rights and development of businesses and those of the communities and the people of Nigeria in a plan that would work for us and not just a generic plan that is planned and adopted anywhere else in the world.
What we are hoping for is to ensure that stakeholders who are present at this meeting are also able to contribute to the process, because it is a multi-stakeholders process that will be run
She lamented that breach of business and human rights is a real huge problem in Nigeria. “We think about human rights and government, but rarely think about businesses violating rights, but when government does not ensure the supervision of businesses to ensure that businesses respect rights”.
“Some common issues are in their Airports where businesses violate the rights of travelers, restating the trending story of a person with disability who was denied flying by DANA Airline on the basis of her disability, that is outright discrimination and a violation of her right, miners will devastate the landscape and waterways and employers who will not allow women maternity leave, discrimination on the grounds of gender, religion, ethnicity and religion. She stressed that this should not occur in a country like Nigeria that is aspiring to grow.
She further urged that citizens whose rights are abused by businesses can seek redress through legal processes and civil society organisations.
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