The Standing Committee on Democratization, Governance and Human rights has urged SADC Parliamentarians to support the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights’ resolution on Business and Human Rights.
The committee report was recently tabled during the 53rd Plenary Assembly Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum, which was held in Arusha, Tanzania.
It reaffirms the centrality of Parliamentarians in advancing the concept of business and human rights in the extractive sector in Southern Africa.
Signed by the Committee Chairperson, Dought Ndiweni and Secretary Sheuneni Kurasha, the report tasked the SADC Parliamentarians to ensure that Transnational Mining Companies complied with human rights and environmental laws.
They were also to ensure that remedies were available and accessible to citizens and communities in case of violations.
Members of the Standing Committee also urged the SADC Parliamentarians to raise awareness among stakeholders in their respective countries, including the relevant government ministries, regarding the United Nations’ Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
That is in addition to encouraging robust participation in the process to ensure that the final outcome would be inclusive, covering all human rights in order to curb corporate impunity of the Transnational Mining Companies.
In their report members of the Standing Committee on Democratization, Governance and Human rights advised SADC Parliamentarians to prioritize the strengthening of the oversight function of Parliament by supporting the process for the adoption of the binding treaty.
They observed that this would enhance accountability by the governments in discharging its regulatory role and establish effective measures to protect States from corporate capture.
Parliaments of the Southern Africa Development Community have been called upon to strengthen the representative role of SADC legislators by amplifying their voice in the ongoing processes towards the adoption of the binding treaty on business and human rights.
In line with the already entrenched Model Law making approach, the committee encouraged SADC Parliamentary Forum Secretariat to explore the feasibility of developing model textual provisions for the binding treaty which serves as a benchmark for negotiations and subsequent domestication at national level.
They also advised the SADC national Parliaments to curb corporate impunity through strong legislation at the national level and address business-related human rights violations in Africa, particularly for the marginalized and vulnerable populations.
SADC Parliaments were urged to leverage their mandate in advocating for the alignment of regional natural resources governance frameworks with the Business and Human Rights Concept and for the development of National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights.
The committee urged the SADC PF Secretariat to prioritize the training of Members of the Parliament in business and human rights through collaboration with partners in order to buttress evidence-based approaches in promoting the respect of human rights in the conduct of business within the natural resources sector in the region.
They called for sustained collaboration between SADC PF and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) Wits University, the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA), and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) to ensure that the training of MPs in Business and Human Rights was undertaken.