Concept Note

Theme: The Impact of COVID-19 on Business, Sustainability and Human Rights in Nigeria

Proposed Date: 24th July 2020

Time: 11:00 AM – 01:00 PM (2 Hours)

Venue: Webinar via ZOOM. Simply HERE to register

Introduction

With the continued global spread of COVID-19, businesses are facing bankruptcy at an unprecedented scale, resulting in job losses for millions. In this context, confidence in the durability of the global economy, and by extension the norms and institutions that support it, are being tested like never before. How businesses respond to the crisis will determine their sustainability and contribute to shaping public attitudes towards the private sector for years to come.

The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Barr. Tony Ojukwu recently announced new guidelines for protection of human rights in Nigeria, under the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that the guideline was in line with Section 5(1) of the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act, 2010. This forum will therefore seek to further clarify the role of non-state actors in upholding this Guidelines which contains human rights guarantees such as the rights to life, health, dignity, privacy, religion and protection against discrimination, among others. It will also introduce participants to the major themes and operational benefits of business and human rights compliance. Since their corporate emergence, much before the nation-state was born, businesses have had a serious impact on human rights, sometimes more adverse than beneficial. Globalization and the proliferation of multinational corporations has only exacerbated the situation whereby business leaders and human rights advocates are now scrambling to search for the appropriate paradigm within which businesses would not only stop having an adverse impact on human rights, but would, in fact, promote and benefit from them in order to guarantee their sustainability and long term growth.

This webinar will critically examine the business-human rights nexus with particular focus on Nigeria. Several questions such as the human rights obligations of businesses including impact financing, the manner in which human rights are affected by businesses especially during the COVID-19 global health and economic crises, the specific linkages with the right to health, safety, social and environment and the ever-elusive solution for accountability will be examined. We will also look at the idea of corporate sustainability and responsibility within the right to development. In the final part, the contemporary and emerging frameworks for ensuring respect and promotion of human rights by businesses will be scrutinized from a critical lens. Risk assessment procedures and practical approaches of integrating corporate human rights due diligence into corporate risk-based Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) management system as well as benefits including on an organization’s bottom-line will be discussed.

Learning objectives

  • To understand the business-human rights nexus with particular focus on Nigeria
  • To examine several questions such as the human rights obligations of businesses, the manner in which human rights are affected by businesses during COVID-19 pandemic and linkages with the right to environment and labor rights and the ever-elusive solution for accountability.
  • To understand the idea of corporate sustainability and responsibility within the right to development.
  • To analyze the contemporary and emerging frameworks for ensuring respect and promotion of human rights by businesses.
  • To understand the benefits of proactive human rights due diligence for an organization and its stakeholders
  • To learn about global efforts in the area of training and development for legal practitioners. Sustainability practitioners and advocates.

Speakers/Discussants (10 minutes each)

  1. Opening Remarks: Mr. Olakunke Alake – Group General Manager, Dangote Industries Ltd
  2. Keynote: Barr. Tony Ojukwu – Executive Director, National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria (NHRC) – Confirmed

Topic: Human Rights Obligations of Business: COVID-19 Pandemic and linkages with the Health, Safety, Social and Environment, and the Ever-elusive Solution for Accountability

  1. IGP Adamu Mohammed – Inspector General of Police, Nigeria (Invited)

           Topic: Law Enforcement and Accountability of Business-related Human Rights Violations– Rule of Law in Nigeria.

  1. Linda Wood – Coordinator (Global), Business and Human Rights Advisory Group (U.N. Recognized) and Director, Changethelaw, U.K – (Confirmed)

The Contemporary and Emerging International Frameworks for Ensuring Respect and Promotion of Human Rights by Corporates including Capacity Building

  1. Eustace OnuegbuPresident, International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (IN-CSR) and West African Representative, Global Advisory Group – (Confirmed)

            Topic: ESG Investment Risk Mitigation: Proactive Human Rights Due Diligence Approach

  1. Rita Ozoemena, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator: Legal Services Division, Free State Centre for Human Rights, South Africa and Executive Secretary, IN-CSR [Moderator]
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