The first African regional civil society convening on human rights and business concluded with the launch of a new African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA). The meeting was held in late November 2013 in Accra, Ghana and hosted by Global Rights: Partners for Justice, with participants from civil society organizations from Sub-Saharan Africa. The ACCA members came together in solidarity to address similar, corporate-related human rights harms they face in their work supporting African communities and individuals who are impacted daily by the work of corporations, both multi-national and domestic.
Despite the diversity of languages and nationalities gathered in Accra, the ACCA members identified four common critical issues affecting their constituencies and communities:
- the need to enhance the protection and respect for collective and individual rights in relation to the activities and relationships of business enterprises,
- the need to enhance the protection and respect for labor rights in relation to business enterprises,
- the need to ensure that remedies are strengthened and that obstacles to justice are eliminated, and
- the lack of implementation of the State duty to protect human and peoples rights and environmental rights.
In December, ACCA members presented the declaration in Geneva at the Second Annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights. There, civil society leaders from across the world praised the establishment of ACCA, pointing to the power ACCA has to shape the corporate accountability agenda across the African continent.
As Mutuso Dhliwayo, Director of Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) and one of the founding ACCA members present in both Accra and Geneva, said:
“The launch of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability was long overdue. While other regions already have their coalitions, Africa was lagging behind. It is through coalitions like the ACCA that we can more effectively lobby our governments and engage with companies to address these critical issues.”
This press release is available here.