The Centre for Human Rights generally focuses on countries within the African continent. However, due to the nature of transnational business, the Business and Human Rights Unit includes in its focus trans- and multi-national companies conducting business activities in Africa, and under the right circumstances, the countries in which these multi- or trans-national companies are domiciled.
Thematic areas of focus currently include all extractive industry related human rights standards, instruments and legislative frameworks, as well as access to remedies for victims of corporate human rights abuse. The Centre also assists corporate actors in complying with human rights due diligence requirements through capacity building and training, assisting with policy analysis, and human rights impacts assessments.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA)
The BHR Unit at the Centre has been hosting the ACCA Secretariat since 2014. The ACCA is a membership based coalition of civil society organisations working on business and human rights issues in Africa. It currently consists of more than 120 organisations from more than 30 countries, with members based in each of the sub-regions of Africa. The ACCA currently focuses on issues around free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and access to remedy for victims of corporate human rights abuse. The ACCA also hosts an annual General Assembly, which has become the largest annual gathering of BHR focused civil society groups in Africa, and one of the major BHR events in the world.
For more information on the ACCA, please visit the ACCA website.
Support to the African Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights
The BHR Unit at the Centre has been supporting the Working Group on Extractive Industries (WGEI) since 2013. The Centre is currently supporting the WGEI on two projects. Firstly, the Centre is assisting the WGEI on completing a background study on the impacts of the extractive industries on human rights and the environment in Africa. Secondly, together with the Human Rights Development Initiative (HRDI), the Centre is conducting a study on illicit financial flows (IFF) from Africa. The study on IFF is a project done in support of both the WGEI, as well as the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Both these Working Groups are special mechanisms of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR).
For more information on these groups, as well as their mandates, please visit the ACHPR website.
The Centre, together with a number of other regional partners and under the leadership of the Shift Project, is involved in a project that aims to create a global collaborative platform to research and co-create better ways of evaluating respect for human rights. The Valuing Respect project team aims to develop tools and insights that can help both companies and their stakeholders focus their resources on actions that effectively improve outcomes for people.
For more information on the Valuing Respect project, please visit the Valuing Respect website.
Human rights in the mining industry
The Business and Human Rights Unit at the Centre is currently assisting a number of mining companies and industry organisations in understanding their human rights obligations (under both domestic and international human rights law) better, through training and capacity building. Since 2013 the Business and Human Rights Unit has been assisting with material and policy development for a number of industry role-players.