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Equatorial Guinea: State and business sector actors begin two day sensitization workshop in Malabo

Equatorial Guinea: State and business sector actors begin two day sensitization workshop in Malabo

Malabo,30th November 2016

Malabo 30/11/2016 – Twenty five representatives of State ministries have just ended a two day sensitization workshop on business and human rights with focus on the United Nations Guiding Principles and the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework. The workshop was organized by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa in partnership with the Directorate General of Human Rights in the office of the third Vice Prime Minister in charge of Human Rights and with the support of the United Nations Country Team in Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea is one of Africa’s oil producing nations and has attracted huge investments in recent years. These investments have also consequently attracted a tremendous influx of skilled and unskilled labour from neighboring countries, as well as issues around the respect of human rights by businesses operating in the country. This two–day sensitization workshop therefore came as a first level response to the human rights issues with aim to cause greater awareness by relevant actors of the state’s obligation to protect and ensure that businesses respect, but also on the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights in their operations. Business enterprises were represented at the workshop by the Directorate of businesses in the country’s Ministry of Labour.

Opening the two day workshop at the Hotel 3e de Agosto in Malabo Tuesday, the third vice Prime Minister in charge of Human Rights M. Alfonso Nsue Mokuy lauded the initiative taken by the Centre to increase the awareness of Equatorial Guinea: State and business sector actors begin two day sensitization workshop in Malabostate and business sector actors on human rights, emphasizing that this had become a very important domain in the eyes of the international community. He stated the government’s willingness to engage in effective promotion and protection of human rights with the support of UN institutions like the Centre and its readiness to push for compliance by businesses. He called on the participants to seek to master the subject matter in order to help the country perform better in the area of human rights. Speaking earlier on behalf of the UNCT, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i M. Brandao Co expressed the UN System’s readiness to continue to support the government in pursuing initiatives like these. He exhorted participants to hold firm to the principles of human rights in business stressing that no meaningful development of communities can be possible without proper regard for human rights. He also noted that a poor relationship between the community and a given company operating within constituted a big drawback for the company and could greatly jeopardize its operations, reason why companies need to view human rights compliance as an opportunity for better business development and not a burden.

During the two days, participants followed presentations and discussion sessions on the UN guiding principles on business and human rights, the opportunities and challenges to implementing these guiding principles and the key role of the state to ensure that these are implemented. Discussions brought out a number of suggestions on how the guiding principles could be integrated into national law and brought to bear on businesses operating within the territory of each state. The lack of UN level follow-up mechanisms was also cited as a real setback but participants agreed that in the absence of specific mechanisms, the UPR still constituted an important window for making progress in this area. Several appropriate actions to be taken by the state to improve the human rights situation in the business milieu were elaborated at the end of the workshop and channeled to the Directorate General of Human Rights who will eventually present them to the third Vice Prime Minister in charge of human rights for action.

Equatorial Guinea: State and business sector actors begin two day sensitization workshop in Malabo