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‘Irresponsible business climate’ 

-UN Group describes Liberia business sector

By Lincoln G. Peters 

The United Nations Group on Business and Human Rights have described the Liberian business sector as irresponsible.

The observation was contained in its assessment and finding report on the business climate of Liberia’s implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights was unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.

It provides the authoritative global standard for action to safeguard human rights in a business context, clarifying what is expected by government companies to prevent and address the impact on human rights arising from business activity. 

UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights Chairperson Ms. Fernanda Hopenhaym read the assessment report over the weekend at the One UN House in Monrovia. 

She urged the Government of Liberia and businesses operating in the country to urgently implement measures to ensure the quest for economic development.

She urged that the Government of Liberia put people before profit and ensure a responsible business environment for investment. 

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“The present climate of irresponsible business practices provides profit for companies but does little for people,” she observed.

“A sustainable and stable peace calls for accountability, transparency, equality, social cohesion, the rule of law, and respect [for] human rights for all,” she noted.

Ms. Hopenhaym disclosed that there is much to be done to implement the good laws that exist and to develop coherent public policy and well-resourced government institutions that can give effect to the best intentions expressed by some actors they met with. 

The Working Group is part of what is known as the special procedure of the Human Rights Council. 

The group in its assessment, alarmed over the poor education, capacity building, and awareness raising of the UNGPs, policy coherence, human rights defender and meaningful participation, salient business and human rights issues in specific sectors, and the human rights abuses in the agri-business and extractive industries. 

The group in their report also pointed out the environmental impact, land rights, labor rights, occupational health and safety, wage payment, access to justice, and effective remedies and groups at risk as factories that are still unaddressed that are responsible for the poor business climate of Liberia. 

The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights on 31 October 2022 visited Liberia and accessed the business climate of the country. 

The assessment of the Liberian business climate was done from 31 October and ended 11 November 2022 with its finding, assessment report, and mission statement released to the public through several media institutions at a press conference.

The Working Group Delegation comprised of chairperson Ms. Fernanda Hopenhaym and Mr. Damilola Olawuyi. 

During the visit of the delegation, they held meetings and visits in the capital, Monrovia, Nimba, Bong, and Bomi Counties. 

The purpose of the visit was to assess how the Government of Liberia and the business sector discharge their respective duties and responsibilities under the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to prevent, mitigate and remedy human rights abuses and negative impacts linked to business activity.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).

One Comment

  1. A good mark for thought. The impact on Liberian small business will project a growth in industry if capitalism continues without any delay to allow the bargain established by present internal plus external commercial methodology. We do welcome these delegatory suggestions.

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