Invitation: Virtual consultation for Africa on human rights-compatible international investment agreements
- Category: ACCA News
- Published: Monday, 17 May 2021 11:59
On April 15 2021, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) and Accountability Counsel will co-host the second in a series of webinars following their publication of our report “Accountability in Africa: Harm from International Financial Flows and Strategies for Supporting Community-Led Access to Remedy.”
Accountability Counsel and the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) cordially invite you to a webinar on the urgent need for community-led accountability in Africa.
The Secretariat has acquired 2 new staff members during the year 2020.
Sa Benjamin Traore Ph.D
Sâ Benjamin Traoré holds an LLM from Geneva Academy of International humanitarian law and human rights, a PhD from University of Neuchâtel. He is currently working as the Project Coordinator at the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability, at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, where the ACCA secretariat sits.
His work focuses on public international law, the law of international organizations, international humanitarian law and human rights and business and human rights.
Dr Traoré joined the ACCA early this year.
Lyse Mpema joined the secretariat in the first quarter of the year 2020.
Lyse holds a degree in communication for development from Universite Lumiere de Bujumbura and a master's degree in governance from International Leadership University. She worked in different and multicultural sectors ranging from project development, academic setting and in the private sector particularly in the African great lakes region.
Lyse is in charge of communication and development at ACCA.
A core challenge across Africa is the right of development host communities to decide on development projects within their vicinities. Considering that they inordinately bear the consequences of these projects, their right to say ‘No’ or have a say in the processes of a development project, is a right that must be protected. This right resonates in several laws and instruments across continent, but very little has been done in its fulfilment.
The concept of “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” (FPIC) exactly addresses that right. It allows indigenous communities to participate and give, or, withhold their consent to any project that may affect their livelihood and their territories. It affirms that: no matter how important a development project might be, the community’s right for a meaningful participation in the decision-making process remains paramount.
For the past 5 years, the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) has researched and engaged stakeholders on the concept of FPIC in the African context. This comic book illustrates the strong critical messages conveyed by ACCA’s report on FPIC.
ACCA also hosted a webinar and a workshop ahead of the round of negotiations on the Second Legally Binding Human Rights Instrument, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises.
Discussions focused on the following themes:
In June 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9, sponsored by the governments of South Africa and Ecuador, in which it decided to "create a group of open-ended intergovernmental work on transnational corporations and other businesses as it relates to human rights. The mandate of this group will be to develop an international, legally binding instrument to regulate in international human rights law the activities of transnational corporations and other enterprises”. The appeal and the resulting draft treaty found support in the southern hemisphere, which is home to most multinational companies.
While the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) - the Ruggie Principles - provide an essential international framework for advancing corporate responsibility, they do not fully reflect the experiences and concerns of African civil society and are currently failing to change the realities experienced on the ground.
It is therefore essential that African civil society embraces the treaty process and builds collective power by advocating both regionally and internationally for the adoption of a legally binding instrument on business and human rights.
The current draft marks an important milestone in the negotiations and will hopefully pave the way for the adoption of a legally binding treaty on business and human rights.
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On October 20, 2020, trade unions, civil society organizations and affected communities came together to reflect in depth on the main demands that shaped the African perspective on the treaty process and to what extent, if any, those demands were articulated in the second revised draft of the legally binding instrument. These key demands include Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from an African perspective, business due diligence in conflict affected areas, the link between corruption, corporate capture of the state and illicit financial flows and the obligations of international financial institutions.
A regional consultation with representatives of African states followed the workshop on October 21, 2020. The regional consultation provided an opportunity for representatives of African civil society and African states to contribute to the revised draft of the legally binding instrument as recommended by the chairperson-rapporteur in the report on the 5th session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises in the Human Rights Perspective.
Although it was impossible to participate physically in the sessions organized by the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on Business and Human Rights, the ACCA secretariat ensured that its members' voices were heard through declarations and by suggesting amendments to a few articles on the treaty.
ACCA attaches the utmost importance to the adoption of an international treaty on business and human rights. As noted in its 2013 launch statement, ACCA recognizes the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) - also referred to as the Ruggie Principles - as a critical international framework for advancing corporate responsibility. However, ACCA notes that the United Nations Guiding Principles, as currently formulated and understood, do not fully reflect the experiences and concerns of its members, and currently fail to change the realities experienced on the African continent.
Read the entire report here
Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (RPDH) is an ACCA member organisation based in Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo. Here is an article on activities they performed with one of the grassroots communities.
Congo Brazzaville. Sangha department: local communities take ownership of forest governance tools
The respect of the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) was the main subject of the monitoring mission of the activities of the “Forest Governance, Market and Climate” and “Integrity in Climate Initiatives such as REDD +” projects, held from 17 to 24 August 2020, at the level of the sous-prefectures of Souanké and Sembé in the department of Sangha, at the initiative of Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (RPDH).
RPDH received a funding from different donors which allow them to equip local communities and indigenous populations (CLPA) in monitoring forest infractions through an observation guide, denounce the main violations of rights arising from the exploitation of natural resources, participate in the benefit-sharing mechanism within the framework of the VPA, REDD + and Central African Forests Initiative (CAFI) processes.
The interviews carried out for this purpose allowed RPDH, to make the following observations:
Local communities benefited from capacity building sessions on the profit sharing mechanism within the framework of the VPA, REDD + and Central African Forests Initiative (CAFI) processes, on related conflicts , 'impact of forestry, mining and agro-industrial activities, and on the complaint management mechanism.
ACCA members are active in their communities and some have seen their work recognized internationally over the past 2 months. We extend our warmest congratulations to Eric and Christine Kajemba from the Democratic Republic of the Congo named as Governance and Security Sector Champions and Ezekiel Chibeze from Ghana who received the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa.
Eric and Christine Kajemba: Champions of Governance of the security sector
Before joining the management of the “Observatoire Gouvernance et Paix” which is an NGO under Congolese law created in 2003, Eric was involved in several dynamics which aimed the democratization and pacification of the DRC.
In 1990, Eric Kajemba who was a young man, participated in the sovereign national conference as one of the delegates of congolese civil society which imposed itself as a counterweight to the dictatorship of President Mobutu.
From that time he understood the necessity to develop more citizen engagement in regard to governance weaknesses observed in his country. He was therefore engaged in the fight for human rights in his province.
Apart from being a human right activist, Eric continued to work as a political journalist in a community radio station during the difficult times of war which has shaken the eastern part of the DRC (1998-2002). It is in that context, after listening to political and social actors that he came to realize that DRC will never have peace unless the country works on improving global gouvernance.
So,e years later he met Christine Cherubala another journalist who shared the same views as his, who became his wife. It is with her and a few friends that he will create the Observatoire Gouvernance et Paix in 2003.
in 2006, three years after its creation, OGP oriented its focus on mining governance and community rights are now at the center of its action.
For the last two years, in partnership with the Geneva Center for Security Sector Governance (DCAF), OGP has been working on the promotion of principles on security and human rights in the mining sector.
Under the leadership of the Kajemba couple, OGP has managed to lead a multi-actor working group on the promotion of voluntary principles, security, and human rights.
For the commemoration of its twentieth anniversary, DCAF to see fit to nominate the Kajemba couple as champion of governance of the security sector in recognition of their fight in the promotion and defense of human rights; and the improvement of security in the mining sector.DCAF said the OGP has developed innovative approaches in the field of security and respect for human rights in a context as fragile as the eastern DRC.
Ezekiel Chibeze : Goldman Environmental Prize
Chibeze Ezekiel was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for the Africa region in November 2020
Chibeze Ezekiel is the Executive Coordinator of the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), a youth-oriented NGO that promotes youth inclusion in the governance of our Natural Resources and Environmental sector. He is a strong advocate on Climate Change and Renewable Energy issues. He is a certified Youth Master Trainer on Climate Change, National SDGs Champion, Climate Reality Leader and serves on the Board of 350.org. He was recently appointed as Panel Member of International Experts on the Environment of Peace 2022 (EP 2022) project.
He chairs the Youth in Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (Youth-NREG) Platform, This platform provides space for knowledge learning and sharing among young people working on different environmental actions as well as creating opportunity for joint advocacy in a concerted manner. He's currently leading the Youth in Renewable Energy Movement campaign in Ghana and playing an active role in Ghana's National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) processes.
More details here
On Human Rights Day, ACCA and Accountability Counsel launched the new report, Accountability in Africa: Harm from International Financial Flows and Strategies for Supporting Community-Led Access to Remedy.
Over the last few months, ACCA has organised several webinars which were mainly focusing on the coalition working streams.
Read below for more details:
Theme1: COVID-19 AND CHINESE INVESTMENT IN AFRICA
Over the past years, Chinese investment has grown exponentially in Africa. Beyond large infrastructure projects, thousands of Chinese entrepreneurs are also settling on the continent in various sectors ranging from retail, factories, and agriculture to mining.
Human rights activists and defenders who help local communities do not always have the knowledge and expertise to help victims take legal action against Chinese companies. For this reason, at its 2019 General Assembly, the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability placed the theme “Chinese investments in Africa” as one of its focus areas.
The webinar focused specifically on the impact of COVID-19 on Chinese investments in Africa and was organised by ACCA in collaboration with China Accountability project (CAP).
Like any other business activity, Chinese investment in Africa comes with its own challenges and various human rights issues. Human rights activists and defenders who help local communities lack the knowledge and expertise to help victims sue Chinese companies.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability has placed the theme of "Chinese investments in Africa" as one of its focus areas. It was within this framework that a webinar focusing on "Rethinking the agreements between China and African states" was organized.
Over the past decades, China has entered into several bilateral investment treaties or other economic agreements with African states. However, human rights and environmental considerations seem to be lacking in these agreements. As the continent suffers serious consequences linked to the activity of irresponsible companies, the issue of renegotiating these agreements is more topical than ever. The webinar was therefore an opportunity for ACCA members to discuss the issue of Chinese investment in Africa from different angles, bringing together experts from Africa and China.
Welcome to the 2020 African Coalition for Corporate Accountability newsletter.
Despite having been a year marked by major global challenges mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 also marks the 7th anniversary of the ACCA.
Established in 2013 by several civil society organizations with the support of international donors, ACCA has become the voice of Africa on business and human rights and counts today nearly 130 members in more than 30 African countries.
During the past 7 years, ACCA has focused on 4 main working streams which are Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), Access to Remedy, the Treaty Process and Chinese Investments in Africa.
ACCA also collaborates with many other partners around the world, whose work focuses on business and human rights and the protection of the rights of communities against illegal or harmful activities of multinationals
Several reports have been published such as the report on FPIC which was published in 2018. The ACCA also contributed to the process on the zero draft and the first revised draft of the binding treaty for companies and human rights and is currently contributing to the second revised version which was published recently. The secretariat is also preparing for the launch of the access to remedy report in collaboration with Accountability Counsel, a partner organization based in the US.
In 2019, in collaboration with the Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) organized, training sessions in different regions of Africa. The first training session from East Africa took place in Tanzania, the second session for members from West Africa took place in ACCRA and the third took place in Egypt in Northern Africa.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, training sessions planned for the year 2020 have been postponed as well as the General Assembly which was initially scheduled to take place in November 2020.
However, the secretariat, like most organizations around the world, has been able to adapt to the new normal and organized online activities such as webinars, workshops and consultations intended for both the members and the public.
This newsletter provides a brief overview of the activities carried out throughout the year 2020.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) is convening a webinar on the Second Revised Draft of the Treaty on Business and Human Rights. The webinar will be an opportunity for Africans to discuss the draft, highlight its strengths and weaknesses and reflect on the prospects of galvanising state support for its adoption.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) is a coalition of 123 African organisations addressing corporate related human rights infringements on the African continent. The theme of the 2019 General Assembly (GA) meeting was “Impacts, Opportunities and Accountability in the context of Chinese Investments in Africa.” The proliferation of Chinese firms in Africa has similarly led to the exponential increase of corporate-related human rights encroachments, thus making discussion on and around this issue topical and pertinent. In responding to the need for discourse, ACCA, in partnership with Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE), hosted its 6th General Assembly from 6 to 8 November 2019.
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The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) notes with great concern the ongoing spate of xenophobic attacks on African foreign nationals in South Africa, as well as the widespread looting and burning of foreign shops. ACCA vehemently condemns such criminal and human rights encroachments.
The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University):
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
Project Co-ordinator, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) - (One post) (12 month contract appointment) - Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
The warm welcome and hospitality of the ACCA’s membership from East Africa created a memorable ambiance during the week of the 2018 ACCA GA. The ACCA is pleased to have collaborated with two of its partner organisations who arranged two side events which took place during the ACCA GA. The events included: a workshop on access to remedy and the First Annual conference of the African Private Security Governance Observatory (Observatory). Articles on the access to remedy workshop may be found here and here.
The ACCA Secretariat is pleased to compile this edition of the ACCA newsletter in which our readers can look forward to a summary of the 2018 ACCA GA, a testimonial from a participant at the 2018 ACCA GA, a summary of the African Private Security Governance Observatory meeting, and a briefing on the IGWG meeting in Geneva.
During the 2018 ACCA GA, a strategy meeting on the Zero Draft Treaty (Draft Treaty) took place. The purpose of the session sought to gather the ACCA’s input on the Draft Treaty. The input from participants helped reinforce the need for the ACCA to continue engaging actively in the Draft Treaty process to guard against corporate impunity for communities.
We recently caught up with Joseph Kibugu from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre to ask them to share his experience from the 2017 ACCA GA. Here is what he had to say:
On 15 August 2018, the ACCA released a press release on the ruling of the UK Court of Appeal on Unilver. The ACCA press release by be downloaded by clicking here.
It gives us great pleasure to present this edition of the ACCA Quarterly Newsletter to our readers. This edition of the ACCA newsletter includes: an update on the activities in which the ACCA has been involved; an exclusive interview with Guillain Koko; along with a sneak preview of this year’s ACCA General Assembly (GA) 2018.
On 14 May 2018, the Coordinator of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) participated via Skype in an ILO high-level Policy Dialogue which took place in Geneva, Switzerland on “Inclusive growth and development: Aligning practices in the private sector with the 2030 development agenda”.
The event is one of five high-level policy dialogues designed to inform the work of the International Labour Organization’s Global Commission on the Future of Work (Commission). The ACCA’s input’s sought to deepen the Commission’s understanding of the issues and enrich its final report, scheduled for publication at the beginning of 2019. The agenda for the event may be found here. The ACCA took part in Session 3: Charting good practice – New incentive structures to share profits and align enterprises with SDG goals. The ACCA’s presentation was centred on the following topics:
Dear ACCA community,
It is my pleasure to announce and introduce to you the new Projects Coordinator of the ACCA: Mr Guillian Koko who joined the ACCA on 02 May 2018. Guillain will take the lead on ACCA’s substantive work on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and access to remedy. In addition, Guillain will be assisting the ACCA in playing a more prominent role in terms of business and human rights issues on the continent, and ACCA’s desire to support African communities and individuals whose human rights are adversely impacted daily by the activities of corporations, both multi-national and domestic. To read his bio, please scroll down.
It is my pleasure to compile this edition of the ACCA newsletter for the ACCA’s member organisations and friends. This edition of the ACCA newsletter features a story of the work done by New Media Advocacy Project (N-Map) and the Centre du Commerce International pour le Development (CECIDE) in using video to help mining-affected communities protect their rights in Guinea, as well as an introduction to the newest member of the ACCA Steering Committee (SC), and some reflections on the ACCA’s participation in this year’s Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) in Cape Town.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) participated in the 9th Alternative Mining Indaba which took place from 5 to 7 February in Cape Town, South Africa under the theme: Making Natural Resources Work for the People: Towards Just Legal, Policy and Institutional Reforms. The AMI drew people from across Africa and beyond, representing civil society organisations and communities affected by mining activities. The aim was to give civil society a platform to discuss problems around and solutions to mining related issues on the African continent. The event was organised into plenary sessions and side events. The event was very informative and afforded the ACCA Steering Committee (SC) members an opportunity to learn more about the challenges faced by mining communities across the continent and the activities of other organisations in the sector. The members also took the opportunity to network with other civil society organisations.
ACCA and AFRILAW joint Statement - UK Court of Appeal Rules Royal Dutch Shell Not Liable for Nigeria Oil Spills
Released on 23 February 2018
Download the joint statement here.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) and African Law Foundation (AFRILAW), Nigeria express deep concern over the ruling handed down by the Court of Appeal in which the London-based Royal Dutch Shell was not responsible for oil pollution in the Niger Delta by its Nigerian subsidiary.
The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) congratulates the convenors of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI) 2018 on successfully convening the 9th AMI in Cape Town, South Africa, from 5-7 February 2018 under the theme: Making Natural Resources Work for the People: Towards Just Legal, Policy and Institutional Reforms.
From 27 to 29 November 2017, ACCA and number of ACCA member organisations and a few friends of the ACCA attended the Annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights (BHR), which takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. This event is organised by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, and brings together a number of different stakeholders each year to discuss thematic issues around BHR. The overarching theme for the 6th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights was 'Access to Remedy'. The Forum is organised mainly with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and human rights in mind. ACCA had a stand at this year’s Forum where participants at the Forum were able to enquire about the ACCA and its ongoing activities.
This year’s ACCA General Assembly was initially meant to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17-19 October. However, in light of the clash of dates of the re-elections in Kenya, an official ACCA communication was released on 12 September 2017 informing the ACCA community of the unanimous decision to postpone this year's GA, and associated side-events to be moved from Nairobi to Pretoria, with the new dates: 14-16 November 2017. A promotional video was also released ahead of this year’s GA, which may be viewed here.
Greetings to members and friends of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA).
It is my pleasure to compile this Newsletter for both member organisations and friends of the ACCA. The activities in which ACCA was involved has marked an important year for our Coalition, which included: the 2017 ACCA General Assembly, (GA) and the 6th annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights (BHR).
Warm greetings to the ACCA community.
The upcoming ACCA General Assembly will be taking place in Nairobi, Kenya from 17-19 October. The theme for this year’s General Assembly is access to remedy. This theme was selected by the ACCA Steering Committee members for two main reasons: access to remedy is one of the themes of the ACCA working group and the theme for this year’s annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is access to remedy.
The 4th upcoming ACCA GA will take place in Nairobi, Kenya from 17-19 October 2017. The overarching theme for this year’s General Assembly is access to remedy.
At the heart of Accountability Counsel’s cases are community members who were denied their basic right to participate in decisions that critically impact their lives. Powerful actors – governments, companies, banks – exclude community voices from “development” projects, predictably leading to serious harm.
The end of year provides a moment to reflect on achievements made within that year. In terms of the ACCA, 2016 has been a year with positive developments for our relatively young Coalition. Undoubtedly, the first in-person ACCA Steering Committee meeting and the 3rd ACCA General Assembly were both important and fruitful ACCA events during which much progress was made for our Coalition.
From 14- 16 November 2016, the 2 co-Chairs of the ACCA Steering Committee together with the Coordinator attended the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights which took place at the Palais des Nations Unies in Geneva, Switzerland. ACCA managed to secure a stand where interested parties present at the Forum to get information on the ACCA and its activities.
From 26 to 28 October, the 11th Hour Project Connect 2016 event took place in San Francisco, USA. Present at the event was the ACCA Coordinator along with ACCA member organisations which include: ADEV, International Rivers, CECIDE, International Rivers and Lien De Brouckere.
| Deadline extended - call for applications: external research consultant - FPIC and access to remedy |
It gives me great pleasure to present this newsletter to the ACCA leadership. During the past few months, the ACCA has taken positive steps to reaching the goals as defined by its members.
The Open Society Institute for Southern Africa (OSISA) and Southern African Resources Watch (SARW) jointly organised a national workshop in Lubumbashi aimed female journalists and members of human rights NGOs from the following provinces: Haut-Katanga, le Lualaba, Central-Congo, Kasai and Maniema. The training took place in Lubumbashi, DRC at Park Hotel's Grand Hall, from 02 to 06 May 2016.
From 6 – 7 July 2016, the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) hosted its 3rd General Assembly at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. The event was attended by approximately 110 people, which included a larger number of ACCA members, as well as a small number of external participants and students. The ACCA Steering Committee also used the opportunity to have two separate meetings, during which internal matters related to the ACCA were discussed.
From 15 – 16 February 2016, ACCA Steering Committee (SC) Members convened in Nairobi, Kenya. This marked the first in‐person SC Meeting since the SC members were elected, and provided the Steering Committee members with the unique opportunity to collectively engage with the ACCA Coordinator.
ACCA commends the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (Working Group) for convening the 4th Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva (Forum), from 16 – 18 November 2015. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the global convener on human rights issues, and to this end, ACCA sees the Forum as an important opportunity to hear from all key stakeholders.
By way of introduction, my name is Damian Oakes. I completed my undergraduate studies in International Relations and French. Thereafter, I completed an Honours degree in French. During my post graduate studies, I completed a language immersion programme in France during which I worked as a language assistant teaching English as a foreign language at Lycée Gabriel Fauré in Annecy, France. I completed my Masters’ degree in Interpreting and Translation (French to English) whilst focusing on international relations and human rights related issues.
We are delighted that several ACCA members were able to participate in the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights last week in Geneva, and they have released the following statement with their reflections and call for action:
After a number of internal discussions following the African Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights, the 88-member African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) issued a statement outlining its impressions of the Forum that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sept. 16 to 18.