Mardi, Août 22, 2017

Cameroon: Mainstreaming human rights into business: the Cameroon Development Corporation’s experience a leading example

Cameroon: Mainstreaming human rights into business: the Cameroon Development Corporation’s experience a leading example

Limbe (Cameroun), 14 July 2017

In less than two years, the Corporation has made significant progress in ensuring compliance of its business operations with human rights norms and standards.

Limbe 14 July 2017 – The first two teams of trainers formed after the Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop in September 2016 delivered their first training in Tiko and Illoani estates respectively from 10-11 and 12-13 July 2017 under the watchful eyes of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (the Centre), the CDC management and media professionals, members of the follow-up committee. “It is a wonderful experience that demonstrates the seriousness with which the Corporation takes the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, stated Mr. Lyonga Otto, Adviser to the General Manager on administrative and legal matters and his personal representative during the trip to the Illoani Palms Estate and Oil mill. During the two seminars, over 60 mid-level staff members, most of whom were staff representatives and field supervisors were well informed on human rights principles in business and the advantages the Corporation could draw from ensuring successful business compliance with these principles. “We are quite impressed by the performance of the first two teams that have trained. They demonstrated a lot of hard work in ensuring mastery of the subject and developing content for an audience that hardly knew about these principles, this is a good example of the will to respect and fulfill”, said Mr. Fonyuy Kiven, representative of the Director of the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa, speaking at the end of the training in Illoani. He praised CDC’s commitment to the project and its determination to ensure that all mid-level managers and staff representatives are sensitized on human rights and business and understand the content of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. One of the lead trainers Mr. Obase Nakeli commended the Centre for its technical guidance which enabled them to deliver understandable and people friendly presentations. He acknowledged that the ToT ignited in them the desire to know more and to perfect their knowledge transfer skills as a matter of priority. He also stated the willingness of his team to support the other remaining teams to prepare and deliver their own sessions in the months ahead.

It should be recalled that the project to mainstream human rights into the operations of the CDC started in July 2016 when a group of media professionals from three regions namely South West, North West

Cameroon: Mainstreaming human rights into business: the Cameroon Development Corporation’s experience a leading example

and Littoral) where the CDC runs plantations, were sensitized on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and then undertook a visit to some of the installations of the Corporation in Debuncha and Idenau. The field visit enabled the media professionals to appraise what had been done in the field so far to promote rights of workers and local communities, and to make certain recommendations for possible improvement. Some of these recommendations included the ToT as a means to ensure sustainability of the project, and the popularization of the internal grievance mechanism. These recommendations were accepted by the Corporation and implemented with support from the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa. As stated earlier, the ToT took place in September 2016 and resulted in the putting in place of four teams of trainers, two of which led the trainings mentioned above. A follow-up committee comprising the lead trainers, CDC management, representatives of media professionals and the Centre was also put in place after the ToT to monitor the implementation of all recommendations and to provide necessary guidance. This committee held its first meeting on Friday 14 July 2017 at the CDC headquarters in Bota, Limbe under the leadership of the General Manager of the CDC Mr. Franklin Ngone Njie.

A positive appraisal

Prior to this meeting, follow-up Committee members monitored the trainings in the field by the first two teams of trainers and exchanged extensively with staff representatives on the issues that needed attention. They also visited modern housing infrastructure and a health Centre under construction in the Boa plains. The meeting of the committee therefore served as a forum to examine all these issues and chat a way forward. Mr. Franklin Ngone Njie stressed the importance of the project to the CDC and while stating that certain conflicts could arise because of the increased human rights knowledge base across the Corporation, these would be beneficial to the Corporation in the long term. He called on all members of the committee to uphold the things that have been good so far and to amend those that have presented some limitations for the success of the project. He prescribed “zero compromise” for human rights norms, urging the Corporation’s managers and senior staff to ensure that these become regular practices in their day to day operations.