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United Nations experts visit Kenya to assess human rights and business

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Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: UNICEF/Marinovich
Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Picture: UNICEF/Marinovich

The UN Working Group on business and human rights will undertake its first official visit to Kenya from 2 to 11 July to assess efforts to prevent, mitigate and remedy adverse human rights impacts of business operations.

Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, relying on sectors such as agriculture, small-scale consumer goods, tourism, services, transport, information technology, and a growing oil and mining sector.

“We look forward to learning more about efforts to develop the first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in the region, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the State to protect against business-related human rights abuses and ensuring that companies respect human rights,” said Anita Ramasastry, chairperson of the Working Group.

The Working Group delegation will hold meetings in Nairobi, Turkana, Nakuru, Kiambu and Mombasa, to assess how the Kenyan Government and businesses are implementing their respective human rights obligations and responsibilities under with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Guiding Principles, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, offer clarity and guidance for governments and companies on how to prevent and address adverse human rights risks and ensure that victims of business-related human rights abuses have access to effective remedies.

The delegation will meet representatives of national and local government, private and State-owned enterprises, business associations, civil society organisations, the National Human Rights Commission, trade unions, human rights defenders and members of local and indigenous communities.

“We will pay particular attention to the situations of individuals and groups that are particularly at risk from business-related human rights abuse,” said Michael Addo, the other member of the Working Group delegation.

At the end of their mission, on Wednesday 11 July, the experts will hold a news conference at 12:00 local time, at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi (City-Hall Way).

The delegation’s findings and recommendations will be included in an official report to be presented to a forthcoming meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Edited by Neo Sesinye
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