National Business and Human Rights, Global Rights and United Nations (UN), yesterday, called on the Presidency to strengthen National Action Plan (NAP) on business and respect of rights of workers.

The groups made the call during the 2022 National Business and Human Rights Roundtable (NBHR22) held in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

In the two-day meeting organised by United Nations Global Impact Network Nigeria, in partnership with Global Rights, Nigeria, the rights group discussed how to strengthen advocacy on NAP, and opened dialogue around opportunities in NAP and others.

The meeting aimed to create more awareness, sensitising the business community on NAP for business and human rights.

Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network Nigeria and Chair, African Regional Network Council, Naomi Nwokolo, who spoke on the theme: ‘The Implementation of the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights in Nigeria,’ said that the idea of human rights is as simple as it is powerful, and must be upheld.

Nwokolo said: “People have right to life, and must be treated with dignity, regardless of their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language or any other status.”

“Every individual is entitled to enjoy human rights without discrimination. These rights are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.”

She said that while governments have the duty to protect individuals against human rights abuses by third parties, businesses are increasingly recognising their legal, moral and commercial need to respect human rights.

She added: “Today, businesses are subject to closer scrutiny of their impacts on people and the planet. Companies that focus on respecting human rights and cultivating positive relationships with their stakeholders can help ensure businesses continue to grow, and given social licenses to operate.

“The Corporate Human Rights Benchmark in 2020 revealed that almost half (46.2 per cent) of 229 global companies, which were assessed, failed to score any point in human rights due diligence across agricultural products, apparel, extractives, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), manufacturing and automotive manufacturing sectors.

“In this report, two significant challenges were highlighted. The first being that “only a minority of companies demonstrated willingness and commitment to take human rights seriously. The second challenge was the disconnect between the commitments and process, on the one hand, and actual performance and results, on the other hand.

“Businesses have minimum responsibilities to respect human rights. They must act with due diligence to avoid infringing on rights of others, which include addressing adverse human rights impacts related to their businesses. They must also abide by international standards and avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through activities and relationships.
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