Key Business and Human Rights Concerns in Kenya.
In Kenya, Key business and human rights concerns revolve around workplace rights, local communities –business relations, human rights and sustainable land use, human rights and sustainable environment and human rights and small- and medium-sized enterprises.
There have been allegations of human rights abuse across many business sectors including in the agricultural sector where sexual harassment, poor housing, low remuneration and poor working conditions are common particularly in commercial farms growing tea, coffee and cut flowers. This is also the case within the manufacturing industry, for example, within the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) garment factories.
New discoveries of oil and other natural resources present opportunities but also potential ground for challenges to human rights such as those relating to sustainable land use, relations with local communities, and ensuring transparency and accountability in revenue streams, violation of local laws by foreign companies operating in the country.
For example, the relationship between communities and oil companies which mainly operate in Turkana, have not been positive, raising a number of grievances on the part of the local community revolving around community engagement, land use, environmental protection, employment, procurement and corporate social responsibility.
To develop a sustainable and equitable extractive sector, these challenges must be addressed especially since they have a big impact on human rights. There is need to embed International human rights standards early into the exploration and drilling contracts, impact assessments, due diligence mechanisms and business reporting. A National action Plan on the UN ‘Protect, Respect, Remedy’ Framework and its Guiding Principles would clarify the Government’s expectation from concerned businesses in this regard.