Officials Discuss Human Rights At Workplaces

Madam Lauretta Vivian Lamptey(second from left),addressing participants at the workshop With her are Prof. Thomas Mba(left)and Ms Rachel Davies of  SHIFT Photo;Seth OsabukleA one-day workshop on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for Heads of Government Institutions was opened in Accra yesterday.

Jointly Organised by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), shift and SOMO (international NGOs), it (workshop) aimed at the formal introduction of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Ghana.

The Chief Director at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Professor Thomas Mba Akabzaa who read the sector minister, Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah’s address said that it was incumbent on national human rights institutions such as CHRAJ to strengthen its engagement with businesses, states and civil society organizations to ensure the upholding of their respective duties and responsibilities with regard to business interaction pertaining to human rights.

“Whilst issues such as child labour and trafficking have received attention within the business world for some time and remain critical issues, attention now extends to also consider wider business impacts on children.

“This is where state institutions will have to ascertain how their activities impact adversely or otherwise on children, to what extent do their activities promote children’s right to play and right to family life4,” he said.

Mr. Buah stated that the environment which was key in enhancing both the mental and physical well-being of persons as well as their dignity and enjoyment, must be jealously protected at every material time.

“The condition and protection of the environment and its natural resources including water, are inextricably linked to the enjoyment of human rights,” he said, and called on state institutions to fashion out strategies suitable enough to promote the preservation of the environment.

Welcoming the participants, Madam Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, Commissioner of CHRAJ, said that a study undertaken by the Commission titled “The State of Human Rights in Mining Communities in Ghana, 2008,” pointed to positive contribution by the mining industry, it (industry) was bedeviled with human rights abuses in the mining areas.

She said that the country’s young democracy could be undermined if a holistic approach was not taken to address these abuses.

“A concerted national effort to invoke the full participation of all sectors of society is, therefore, indispensable to achieving progress in realizing economic, social and cultural rights I the country,” she said.

Participants were from the National Labour Commission, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative of Justice, Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Precious Minerals Marketing Company, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations among others. By Castro Zangina –Tong               

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