UN, Liberians Call for Protection of Businesses and Human Rights
Monrovia – The United Nations Human Rights Office in Liberia or Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR) has joined Liberians calling for the protection of businesses and human rights.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr. [email protected]
Liberians, at the end of a roundtable dialogue, sponsored by the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights in Liberia, want government to set up a framework that will protect businesses and human rights in Liberia.
The roundtable dialogue brought together stakeholders, CSOs, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Ministry of Justice and business executives from the private sector.
Participants, among their recommendations, want government to ensure that its employees be adequately qualified and that specific job requirements be set.
The participants’ interactive dialogue also called for initiatives or policies for the incorporation of business and human rights standards and practices in concession or investment agreements and business registrations.
They also charged business enterprises to take genuine responsibility to respect and implement human rights standards through management and operational systems.
They called for the development and promotion of initiatives that support productive entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized business enterprises (SME) as well as community-based job creation.
According to a 2010 Labor Force Survey, more than three-quarters of the employed population in Liberia were employed under relatively precarious circumstances and were less likely to have formal work arrangements or access to benefits or social protection programs. The survey also stated that vulnerable employment is predominantly an issue in Liberia’s rural areas.
An Independent National Human Rights Commission commissioner (INCHR), Wilfred Gray Johnson, told journalists that the Commission was introduced to the Business and Human Rights Frameworks back in 2016 when they undertook a study tour to Geneva and visited with OHCHR to learn various international human rights mechanisms.
For his part, Assistant Justice Minister Neo Johnson praised OHCHR for its progress and recommendations to the government on the protection of business and human rights.
“It is a good thing for a neutral organization like the OHCHR to grade government, but we must send out a caveat that we are a sovereign nation with its own laws. However, we respect the rights of human being and it our duty as government to protect human rights and businesses,” he stated.
The Country Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner, Uchenna Emelonye, challenged the government to craft necessary policies including legal instruments that will benefit the ‘suffering masses.’
“We are constructively campaigning on things that the Liberian government agreed to work on in a bid to promote and protect human rights issues,” Emelonye said.