By Angela Atabo
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre(CISLAC) has called for the adoption and implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights.
Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, made the call while addressing newsmen on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Rafsanjani said that the NAP was an integrated and systematic national strategy to help realise the advancement of human rights in Nigeria.
The director added that it was an audit of the human rights situation in Nigeria and identifying areas in need of protection and improvement.
He said that the implementation of NAP would help in addressing the challenges mining and oil exploration regions faced especially by companies.
He said that in spite of complaints from community leaders and representatives of these communities to the various companies operating within these communities, companies do little or nothing to provide redress.
“As contained in the draft National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, this working group will coordinate activities of agencies that are involved in dealing with human rights and business related issues.
“In line with the provisions of the draft NAP, this creation will be an actionable item by the Federal Government in performing its duty to protect the rights of citizens and address business related human rights issues.
“This Directorate is to be headed by a director and will act as the secretariat of the National Working Group on Business and Human Right (NWGBHR).
“The Chairperson shall be the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission while the secretary of the NWGBHR shall be the director of business and human rights at the National Human Rights Commission,” he said.
Rafsanjani said that there was a need for businesses to conduct human rights due diligence from the onset to measure possible impact both negative and positive of their operations on a host community.
He said that they should also highlight how they intended to mitigate those impacts.
He said that the NAP should provide comprehensive details on what this human rights due diligence entails and mechanisms that should be put in place.
Rafsanjani said that in light of this, CISLAC with the support of various stakeholders developed a draft cohesive human rights due diligence document in that regard.
This, he said, could be incorporated into the draft NAP, adding that the document had been handed over to the National Human Rights Commission.
Rafsanjani said that community development should not be seen by companies as doing favours to the communities.
“Development is a human right as recognized by the United Nations and other international and national organs.
“Therefore; government should ensure that they are targeted towards mitigating the negative impact of business activities. Such developments by companies should not be a replacement or substitute for government obligation towards communities,’’ he said.
Rafsanjani urged Nigerians to be aware that remedy mechanisms exist.
He said that access to an effective remedy to communities or persons who were victims of human rights violations in the course of business should be made available.(NAN)