The African Union Commission together with the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights convened the first Africa Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from. This event followed in the steps of the Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The 2014 Annual Forum will be the 3rd one of its kind, and takes place from 1 – 3 December 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Africa Forum focused on human rights issues that are relevant to the African region and included stakeholders from government, national human rights institutions, the corporate sector, civil society organisations, and academia. The Centre for Human Rights supported Ms Sheila Keetharuth, an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights, in her capacity as a representative of the Working Group.
The underlying focus of the conference was the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights, which constitutes the basis of the mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. At the conference, the African Union Commission (AUC) announced the development of an ‘African framework for implementing the UNGPs’, which should be the first of its kind. The AUC has not issued any further detail but is expected to work in close collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on this project.