Tuesday, November 29 • 3:00pm - 4:20pm
Rights holders at the centre: progress and opportunities for strengthening business and human rights in Africa

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(Version française ci-jointe)
(Versión en español adjunta)

Interpretation available in English, French and Spanish
Session organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Brief description of the session

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). They articulate the obligations of States and the responsibilities of companies to prevent and address adverse human rights impacts of business activities.
In recent years, the UNGPs have increasingly become better known in the Africa region and various African governments, businesses, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), civil society actors, academia and the legal community have increased their action to promote responsible business conduct and corporate accountability. The recent legislative and regulatory developments in this regard prove how fast the business and human rights agenda has been picking up in the region. However, significant gaps remain to translate the UNGPs into effective protection and remedy frameworks for rights holders on the ground. A significant increase in capacity-building and awareness of the UNGPs, political will and opportunities for peer learning and allocation of financial resources to support implementation efforts are key aspects for the road ahead to develop a more sustainable path towards responsible business and sustainable development for the continent. For the UNGPs to engender change in Africa, as envisioned in the Roadmap for the next decade of business and human rights developed by the Working Group, there is a need to focus on how the implementation of the UNGPs can be accelerated from a rights holder’s perspective.
Key objectives of the session:
  • To present ways in which the UNGPs have been used to strengthen human rights and environmental protection in Africa with tangible results for rights holders.
  • To discuss what is required to advance greater awareness on, and the implementation of the UNGPs across Africa, and build the capacity of all stakeholders to use the UNGPs as an effective tool for States and business to discharge their respective duties and responsibilities to protect and respect human rights and the environment.
  • To identify obstacles, drivers, and priorities that need to be addressed to achieve fuller realization of the UNGPs in Africa.

Key discussion questions:
  • What challenges remain in the region to operationalize the UNGPs? What has worked and what has not worked to date?
  • What are the key drivers and priorities that need to be addressed to achieve the full realisation of the UNGPs in Africa?
  • What needs to happen to ensure that rights holders are central to efforts made by African States when implementing their duty to protect, and  businesses when implementing their responsibility to respect human rights?
  • What can be learned from the progress made, in order to find sustainable and shared solutions for advancing implementation of the UNGPs in Africa over the next 10 years?

avatar for Damilola Olawuyi

Damilola Olawuyi

member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Damilola S. Olawuyi is a Professor and UNESCO Chair on Environmental Law and Sustainable Development at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar. He is also the director of the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development at the Afe Babalola University... Read More →

avatar for Eric Kajemba

Eric Kajemba

Director, Observatoire pour la Gouvernance et la Paix (OGP)
avatar for Roselyn Hanzi

Roselyn Hanzi

Executive Director, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Ms. Roselyn Hanzi is the Executive Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). She holds a Bachelor of Laws Honours Degree from the University of Zimbabwe and Master of Laws (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of... Read More →
avatar for Lindo Khuzwayo

Lindo Khuzwayo

Strategic Engagement Principal, Anglo American Platinum
Lindo Khuzwayo is an admitted Attorney, currently working as a Strategic Engagement: Human Rights and Civil Society Engagement Principal at Anglo American Platinum. Lindo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cape Town (UCT), an L.L.B (Bachelor of Laws) degree from... Read More →
avatar for Claris Kariuki

Claris Kariuki

Senior State Counsel, Office of the Attorney General & Department of Justice
Claris Kariuki- Mwirigi is an advocate and a human rights practitioner with over 12 years of experience. She holds a Master of Law degree in Public International Law from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and a Bachelor of Law Degree from the Catholic University of East Africa.She... Read More →
avatar for Edward Porokwa

Edward Porokwa

Executive Director, The Pastoralists Indigenous Non Governmental Organization's Forum (PINGO's Forum)

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:00pm - 4:20pm CET