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Business and human rights in Africa – first UN regional forum from 16-18 September

ADDIS ABABA / GENEVA (10 September 2014) – Business enterprises, governments, civil society and national human rights institutions from across Africa will meet in Addis Ababa from 16 to 18 September to discuss key business and human rights challenges for the continent.

The African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights is convened by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights with the support of the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It will bring together 250 participants.

“This meeting has no precedent in the region. It is the first time such a wide range of stakeholders will gather to openly discuss how better to ensure that human rights, business and economic development work together. It is a unique opportunity to promote national and regional action plans on business and human rights and the scaling up of responsible business practice,” said Michael K. Addo, who chairs the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

“African economies have experienced impressive growth and attracted rising investment in recent decades. At the same time there is increasing attention to the adverse impact on human rights. Preventing and addressing such impacts is key,” said Margaret Jungk, vice-chair of the UN Working Group.

The Regional Forum will look at initiatives, opportunities and challenges to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In particular, it will focus on issues such as ensuring access to remedy for victims, development of regional and national action plans on business and human rights, and challenges related to extractive industries, land investment, human rights defenders and conflict situations.

The event follows last year’s Regional Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean and it will feed into the 2014 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights to be held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December.

The African Regional Forum is open to the media. For press accreditation, please contact: abdum@uneca.org.

The UN Working Group will give a press conference together with some of the participants and supporting organizations at 2 pm on Thursday 18 September 2014 at the UN Conference Centre (Press Briefing Room), Addis Ababa.

ENDS

The Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises was established by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. Its five members are: Michael Addo (current Chairperson-Rapporteur), Ms. Margaret Jungk (Vice Chair), Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga, Ms. Alexandra Guáqueta and Mr. Puvan Selvanathan. The Working Group is independent from any government or organization. It reports to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly. Log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/WGHRandtransnationalcorporationsandotherbusiness.aspx

Learn more about the African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Forum/Pages/AfricaRegionalForum.aspx

UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, to be held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December 2014: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Forum/Pages/ForumonBusinessandHumanRights.aspx

Check the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/Tools.aspx 

For additional information and media requests, please contact:
Abdu Mohammed - +251 115  44 35 86 / abdum@uneca.org, or 
Ulrik Halsteen - +41 79 109 6873 (during the Forum), +41 22 917 9323 (before and after the Forum) / wg-business@ohchr.org)

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