Authorities at the National Investment Commission (NIC) yesterday launched, for the first time in the country, a Business and Human Rights Network (BHRN).
The Network, according to Adama K. Dempster, is intended for an effective and comprehensive implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights throughout the relevant state institutions and business sector of Liberia.
Mr. Dempster is the national director for Independent Human Rights Investigator (IHRI), and a member of the BHRN.
He said business and human rights stakeholders therefore request the government through the ministries of Justice, Labor and Commerce, and the NIC and National Bureau of Concessions to establish a standard policy of respect for business and human rights, and for it to be integrated into all concession/investment agreements and business registrations processed through the Liberia Business Registry.
Mr. Dempster: “To support business and human rights advocacy and implementation, the resolution following the launch calls on the government to establish a Business and Human Rights Steering Committee.”
He said the inclusion of human rights standards and practices into business functions will greatly enhance stability; will be a sure way of maintaining peace in workplaces and society at large; and will also support a healthy investment and business environment in the country.
“This, we believe, will improve respect for human rights in every sector across the country,” Mr. Dempster said.
Grisper Garteh, NIC director of administration, who proxied for the NIC chairperson Etmonia Tarpeh, reaffirmed the entity’s commitment to support the efforts as well as develop concession agreements to address the issues of rights abuses.
Garteh considers the issues of rights violations as paramount to the NIC, because of its cross-cutting importance involving every sector of society.
“As a government, we will work with whichever rights commissions to ensure that people, especially our workers’ rights are respected throughout the country,” Mr. Garteh said.
The launch was attended by Ms. Alberta Quaye Bettie, Research Officer at the Ministry of Justice’s Division of Human Rights Protection; representatives from the United Nations Mission in Liberia; Independent Commission on Human Rights; and representatives of several other institutions.