The chairperson of the Zambian National Human Rights Commission, who also doubles as a Commissioner at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga, briefed Gambian media on the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions’ (NHRIs) 4th forum which was held in The Gambia on Tuesday.
Engaging reporters on Tuesday, the rights expert said: “We are here for the 4th National Human Rights Institutions at the margin of the 71st ordinary session on the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The session is going to begin on the 21st of April and will be ending on the 9th of May.”
“That session is going to be virtual,” he added, “and we expect quite a number of organisations to take part. Now specific to this forum, you may wish to know that the theme is: Integrating the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework to Business and Human Rights in Africa, as a lever towards the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development.”
He expressed that there is a lot of violations of business-related right happening across the continent.
“In many cases we concentrate on issues to do with big corporations as being the culprits when it comes to violation of human rights in terms of business, but we shouldn’t forget that even small time business along the way also violate human rights,” he divulged.
“So basically, we are here to brainstorm on issues that relate to business and human rights violations with a view to learning from each other so that we hear from all of us about the best practices, about how we can go about alleviating these human rights violations which takes place as a result of the businesses.”
Where I come from, now speaking as the Chairperson of the Zambia Human Rights Commission, on the 29th of April, I will be receiving a report from some NGOs, which have been carrying out some investigations in relation to activities by some big mining corporations as well as farming corporations, which have impacted negatively on individuals. Now once we receive, we are going to see what it is and we can do to try and alleviate.
“It is against that background that this forum that we are here for is quite apt in the sense that us as national human rights institutions also have a role to ensuring that business-related human rights violations are addressed,” he explained further.
“Now talking at African Commission level, we are also interested in seeing to it that we work together with NANHRI so that we strengthen the capacity of most of these national human rights institutions in their discharging their mandates, and most of the mandates. In fact, the common trade which runs through them is promoting and protecting human rights.
“But here we are specifically dealing business right, as well as right which pertain to the blue economy, which has something to do with the economy that has to do with the oceans.
He concluded in brief that was what they are here. He added that after the forum they would come up with mechanisms to ensure the protection and promotion of business right across the continent.