KEPSA participated in the validation workshop of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights held on 2nd May, 2019 at the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi.
The process of integrating Human Rights in business operations is guided by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of Kenya, which binds all natural and legal persons, including businesses. This follows the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) which offers a global reference that reaffirms States’ duty to protect those under their jurisdiction from business-related human rights abuses; business responsibility to respect human rights; and the imperative for both States and businesses to ensure that victims of such abuses have access to effective remedy.
In this regard, the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) has been developed to guide the implementation of the UNGPs. The Department of Justice (DoJ) in the office of the Attorney General and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) have coordinated the NAP development process. This NAP focuses on five critical thematic issues identified by stakeholders namely: labour, revenue transparency, environment, land, and access to justice.
KEPSA’s participation in the process is informed by the critical role that the Private Sector plays in advancing the development of the country not just at a macro level but at household level as well. Kenya is one of three countries on the Continent that has begun the process of developing a NAP.
The process formally commenced in April 2016 through a public statement issued by the Attorney General committing to a consultative and inclusive process that would result in a NAP that reflects issues of priority to business and human rights in Kenya.
A National Steering Committee (NSC) consisting of representatives from 13 institutions was formed to coordinate the process. These were:
- Office of the Attorney General & Department of Justice
- Ministry of Labour, Social, Security and Services
- Ministry of Energy and Petroleum
- Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU)
- Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR)
- Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
- Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE)
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
- Global Compact Network Kenya (GCNK)
- Council of Governors
- National Gender and Equality Commission
- Institute of Human Rights and Business (IHRB)
During the meeting, KEPSA reiterated Private Sector’s commitment to advancing social protection and respecting human rights not only at the work place but also in the society as well as safeguarding the preservation of natural resources. This was demonstrated through examples of the various initiatives that have been spearheaded by the sector in partnership with Government and non-state actors such as the National Waste Management Policy to be validated on 24th May 2019; adoption of best practices to support lactating mothers; initiation and support for anti-corruption initiatives such as the Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) among others.
Concerns raised during the meeting included the feasibility of implementation of some of the suggestions as well as lack of clarity over the same. As a result, it was agreed that the draft document would be reviewed and further consultations held.