A National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, spearheaded by the Office of the Attorney General and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, will rate, rank, and publish businesses’ respect for human rights in their dealings.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ consultative meeting on the NAP in the Western Region, Lead Anchor and member of the Steering Committee, Victor Brobbey, said the extent to which companies respect human rights and have policies in place will account for their position on the ranking table.
“We are going to create the Business and Human Rights Rating System. In other words, CHRAJ, in conjunction with other stakeholders, is going to rank companies on their compliance levels with business and human rights laws.”
He added, “The extent to which you undertake human rights due diligence policies, the extent to which you have the right policies in place. These rankings will be published and will serve as a guide to the general public that wants to interact or do business with these companies.”
Speaking at the workshop, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, Dr. Sylvia Adusu, said the NAP on Business and Human Rights has arisen in response to the concerns of the United Nations about the poor human rights provisions and enforcement in businesses and the need for them to respect rights in all their dealings.
She said some countries have already produced and activated their action plans, while several others are now in the process. Ghana has started the process to produce a National Action Plan for promoting human rights in businesses, and the consultation workshop in the Western Region has brought together various stakeholders to gather views to be incorporated into the policy.
She added, “The National Action Plan is supposed to be finished by July, and then when we finish, we will launch it, and after launching it, the next thing will be implementation. CHRAJ will be a major player in the implementation, as well as other bodies we have identified in the NAP. The Office of the Attorney General is also a key stakeholder.”
Chief State Attorney at the Office of the Attorney General in the Western Region, Patience Klinogo, said there exists an unacceptable gap in the integration of human rights into the principles and practice of business management in Ghana, and the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights will help deal with the problem.
She said, “Several women have complained about being asked to sleep with their employers to get their jobs or promotion. Of course, many claim they declined such offers and lost their jobs. And what about the story of sex for grades in our universities? Indeed, many of us, as individuals or directors or managers of organizations, big and small, abuse each other’s rights in the course of our daily life with reckless abandon.”
She added, “Many other service providers, such as schools, hospitals, and firms, are far more committed to their profit motive rather than service to the people. Then there is the unethical and immoral activities of illegal miners/galamseyers, which are causing great havoc by abusing the rights of the present generation of Ghanaians and posing great danger to the next generation. Galamsey is destroying the sources of income for our farmers and fishermen. It is killing our water bodies.”
Patience Klinogo concluded by saying, “From all indications, the human rights abuse in businesses in Ghana is grave, and radical action is required to urgently address the situation.”
Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, says the National Action Plan, when activated, will enhance the protection of rights.
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