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Kenya: UN experts visit to assess human rights and business

GENEVA (28 June 2018) – The UN Working Group on business and human rights will undertake its first official visit to Kenya from 2 to 11 July to assess efforts to prevent, mitigate and remedy adverse human rights impacts of business operations.

Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, relying on sectors such as agriculture, small-scale consumer goods, tourism, services, transport, information technology, and a growing oil and mining sector.

“We look forward to learning more about efforts to develop the first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in the region, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the State to protect against business-related human rights abuses and ensuring that companies respect human rights,” said Anita Ramasastry, chairperson of the Working Group.

The Working Group delegation will hold meetings in Nairobi, Turkana, Nakuru, Kiambu and Mombasa, to assess how the Kenyan Government and businesses are implementing their respective human rights obligations and responsibilities under with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Guiding Principles, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, offer clarity and guidance for governments and companies on how to prevent and address adverse human rights risks and ensure that victims of business-related human rights abuses have access to effective remedies.

The delegation will meet representatives of national and local government, private and State-owned enterprises, business associations, civil society organizations, the National Human Rights Commission, trade unions, human rights defenders and members of local and indigenous communities.

“We will pay particular attention to the situations of individuals and groups that are particularly at risk from business-related human rights abuse,” said Michael Addo, the other member of the Working Group delegation.

At the end of their mission, on Wednesday 11 July, the experts will hold a news conference at 12:00 local time, at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi (City-Hall Way). Access to the news conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The delegation’s findings and recommendations will be included in an official report to be presented to a forthcoming meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

ENDS

The UN Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises was established by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. Its current members are: Ms Anita Ramasastry (current Chairperson), Mr. Michael Addo, Mr. Surya Deva, Mr. Dante Pesce (current Vice-Chairperson) and Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga.

The Working Group and Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 (resolution 17/4), provide the authoritative global standard for action to safeguard human rights in a business context, clarifying what is expected by governments and companies to prevent and address impacts on human rights arising from business activity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Kenya

For additional information and media requests please contact:In Nairobi: Tirus Wainaina, (+254 722829962); tirus.wainaina@un.org

In Geneva: Ulrik Halsteen,( +41 22 917 9323 / +41 79 752 0481 mobile number during the visit); or please write to wg-business@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit jlaurence@ohchr.org

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.