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Responsible security management and human rights profiled at Africa Business and Human Rights Forum

From 12-13 October, DCAF was in Accra, Ghana participating in the regional forum, which brought together governments, civil society and companies from across Africa. Participants collaborated to take stock of progress and discuss challenges and opportunities for promoting responsible business conduct and corporate accountability in the region.

At a side event organized by the Government of Switzerland, DCAF shared the stage with other experts from the OECD, the International Code of Conduct Association, Mozambique’s Centre for Democracy and Development and Glencore. Panellists discussed how in-country working groups on business, security and human rights can promote smart partnerships between national authorities, companies and civil society to address and prevent conflicts in the natural resource sector. These working groups are strengthened through support from the Voluntary Principles Initiative.

Additionally, during a plenary session on Business and Human Rights in Conflict-affected Areas, DCAF provided inputs on requirements and good practices to reinforce security and human rights in challenging environments. Key insights included:

  • The importance of tailoring good practices to local realities and ensuring international partners commit to African ownership of the business and human rights agenda.
  • The centrality of political will and commitment at the national level, coupled with a long-term process of trust and relationship-building across government, civil society and companies.
  • The need to join the dots and show the mutually reinforcing nature of international frameworks and initiatives such as the United Nations Guiding Principles, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the OECD workstream on Responsible Business Conduct and the International Code of Conduct for Private Security.
  • The gap that needs to be bridged between knowledge communities. Whether from the perspective of the UN system, the African Union Commission or at the national level, business and human rights frameworks need to be better integrated with peace and security initiatives under a common approach that focuses on rights-holders.