Mr John Nkaw, the Country Director of Action Aid Ghana, a global justice Federation has called on the International Tribunal to settle legal disputes violating human rights of transnational corporations. ‘The demand is timely, as the issue of modern slavery lingers in the supply chain.’ Mr. Nkaw made this call at a high-profile Africa Regional Intersessional Consultation on the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights in Accra. He affirmed that international standards governing commercial practices in connection with human rights were needed, and Africa must take a more active part in determining how they appear. ‘Again, the age long menace of exploitation and child labour is also common due to the delay of structural International Tribunal supervision of transnational corporations’ compliance and sanctions to ensure full respect for human rights. ‘Our engagement in this negotiation process presents an opportunity to reflect on a collective African position towards a more principled, responsible, and accountable business operations. ‘Engaging in the treaty negotiation process presents a critical opportunity for states to demonstrate political will to put gender justice above corporate interests’, he added. The meeting was was to strengthen cooperation, coordination, and solidarity amongst African States and civil society movements for the realization of the Instrument and discuss key articles that were of critical essence civil society groups, social movements, and affected communities in Africa. The consultation also sought to provide states with an overall legal reading of the new treaty content in comparison with the third draft and textual proposals submitted to during the ninth negotiation. Operations of businesses can have a profound impact on the rights of people and communities. ‘While some of these impacts are positive, such as increasing access to employment, others are negative and include forcible eviction, various forms of labour exploitation, and damage to the environment. He said the hardest hit were often women, children, indigenous communities, and other marginalized and underserved groups. ‘It is a known fact that women the world over, are most likely to be employed in the most precarious working environments with the least labour protection, earn the lowest wages, and shoulder the vast majority of the world’s unpaid care work.’ He called for a strong and deliberate gendered approach to remove gender-specific barriers to justice that women experience in holding corporations to account and guaranteeing protection for women. The United Nations Human Rights Council, during its 26th session held on June 26, 2014, adopted Resolution 26/9, marking a pivotal moment in the global pursuit of corporate accountability and human rights protection. The resolution, with the mandate to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, recognizes the dual role of transnational corporations and business enterprises in both promoting economic prosperity and reducing the adverse impacts on human rights. Ghana has taken an active role in advancing this crucial initiative by reaching out to Cameroon, the Africa region representative of the Group of Friends. The meeting was attended by the Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, the Vice Minister of External Regions of Cameroon, the Representative of the Africa Union Commission, Ambassadors of African Missions in Ghana, the Ambassador, the Norwegian Embassy in Ghana, the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Ghana, The Country Representatives of United Nations Agencies in Ghana, The Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), The Commissioner, Cameroon Human Rights Commission, and Representatives of civil society organizations.
Source: Ghana News Agency