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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.

Earlier this year, ACCA, in collaboration with a few ACCA member organisations which included: the Centre for Human Rights, Zimbabwean Environmental Law Association (ZELA), and Global Rights Nigeria along with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre compiled a joint proposal for a session at this year’s UN Forum, which was accepted by the UN Forum organisers. The finalised joint proposal may be found here. The title of ACCA’s session was: 'An African perspective to access to remedy – Regional challenges and needs’. This session provided ACCA with a platform to present the findings from its research on access to remedy. ACCA’s panel included: Dr Attiya Waris from the University of Nairobi in Kenya; Mr Mutuso Dhliwayo from ZELA; Ms Abiodun Baiyewu from Global Rights Nigeria; Malvern Mudiwa from Marange Development Trust; Ms Betha Hussaini from Kwilapandi Community in Nigeria, and Mr Josua Loots from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, who moderated the session. The panel discussion was a resounding success, and ACCA received fantastic feedback from those that attended our session, and managed to attract quite a few attendees in spite of the fact that ACCA’s session commenced at 08:15 on a cold morning in Geneva. One of the slides that were prepared for this panel discussion may be found here. ACCA is grateful to the UN organisers for graciously sponsoring the panellists participation at this year’s UN Forum.

On day 2 of the Forum, ACCA members convened during a side meeting that took place at the Serpetine Bar in the Palais des Nations at 13:00. This side meeting brought together friends of the ACCA, ACCA member organisations, and a few funders. During this session, The ACCA SC members provided an update on the outcomes from this year’s ACCA GA, and ACCA’s panel discussion that took place earlier morning. The Coordinator, together with ACCA SC members, provided the opportunity for participants to share their thoughts on both this year’s UN Forum and action points for ACCA going forward. These reflections formed the basis of the ACCA statement which was released the day after the Forum, 30 November 2017.

ACCA is pleased to announce that there was a great representation of ACCA member organisations at this year’s event. This is testimony to the fact that ACCA is more present at important international business and human rights events, and is ready to have its voice be heard on issues directly affecting the continent and impacted African communities.

Damian Oakes