Review trade, investment promotion agreements to ensure compliance – Dep Attorney General

The Deputy Attorney-General, Ms Diana Asonaba Dapaah, has called for a review of current trade and investment promotion agreements to ensure compliance with business and human rights standards.

Ms Dapaah who is also the Deputy Minister of Justice, said the review was necessary for the development and implementation of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (BHR) and would reduce facilitation of illicit financial flows and tax evasion by businesses.

Ms Dapaah disclosed this at the opening of a two-day African Business and Human Rights Forum organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Accra on Wednesday.

The Forum which was organised in partnership with African Union (AU), Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was supported by the Governments of Japan and Switzerland.

It brought together stakeholders across Africa to take stock of progress and discuss challenges and opportunities for promoting responsible business and human rights conduct and corporate accountability in the region.

Ms Dapaah said “It is proposed that private entities that receive financial support demonstrate a commitment to BHR principles, including by providing access to remedy for human rights violations by requiring a commitment to BHR principles as a basis for receiving continued funding.”

She indicated that, Ghana had begun the process of developing a National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human rights and the objective of the plan would mainstream the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) into the Ghanaian existing rules, regulations, and policies for the oversight of business and investments in Ghana.

She said it would also include the quest to strengthen institutional capacity, operations and coordinate efforts of state and non-state actors for the protection and promotion of human rights by businesses.

In order to ensure harmony, the deputy minister called for coordination between the different government agencies working on business and human rights to facilitate training, sensitisation and dissemination of the NAP and other Business and Human Right relevant interventions by the development of permanent inter-agency business and human rights committee.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, Mr Bankole Adeoye in a speech read on his behalf said the forum would contribute to the effort of the AU to popularise and build support for the AU Draft Policy on Business and Human Rights and to draw support for its adoption by AU Member States.

He said it would also contribute to Africa’s efforts to create awareness on Business and Human Rights among various stakeholders, including Business enterprises and to ensure that all member States were fully engaged in its implementation guided by the UNGPs.

So far, Kenya and Uganda are the only two countries on the continent who have developed National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights to streamline existing rules, regulations and policies for the oversight of businesses and investment in accordance with the UN guiding principles.

Ghana is on the verge of implementing its own with a National Steering Committee to create the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

The membership of the steering committee consists of the relevant ministries, department and agencies, Trade Unions, Civil society Organisations and the academia.


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