Mercredi, Décembre 13, 2017

CDC’s human rights awareness drive: A risk in the right direction?

CDC’s human rights awareness drive: A risk in the right direction?

Limbe, 01 December 2017

Limbe, 01 December 2017 - It is close to two years since the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa in partnership with the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) engaged in a project, thanks to funding from the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), to mainstream human rights into the activities and operations of the Corporation. The project that started with training of media professionals on human rights and business with focus on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and a field visit to the oil mill and staff housing facilities in Idenau and Njonji respectively, has now touched a quarter of the Corporations over 600 supervisory level personnel.

The Corporation’s ability to embrace the human rights project enabled the Centre to organize a training of trainers in October 2016 following which four training teams, made up of the best trainees, were constituted. These teams have organized four training workshops for other supervisory staff in four estate areas of the Corporation namely Tiko, Illoani/Boa, Idenau and Mukonje, in 2017. A total of 152 persons have benefitted from the training representing 25.3% of the total supervisory staff of the Corporation to date. The objective is to touch all 600 by December 2019. The last two training workshops took place from 26 November to 1 December 2017. A multi actor committee set up to monitor the implementation of the human rights and business project met twice in 2017 to review progress, evaluate training done and eventually make projections for 2018. This committee which comprises journalists, staff representatives, management representatives, training team leads and the Centre is chaired by the General Manager of the CDC.

Is this human rights awareness project a risk for the Corporation?

It’s been the deterring factor for many companies when it comes to talking human rights in the workplace CDC’s human rights awareness drive: A risk in the right direction?and the neighboring community. Others have considered this awareness raising as a means to agitate the workforce, others simply want to avoid any form of external criticism. But there is one man who thinks otherwise. Franklin Ngone Njie, General Manager of the CDC, responding to this question by one of the members during the follow-up committee meeting on 1 December 2017 said “It may look like a very big risk we are taking, but on the basis of our workforce which is dependent largely on human resources, it is important that workers not only know what is expected of them, but also what they should expect from the Corporation. I think it is a risk in the right direction, especially as it exposes us to better performance and responsibility towards local communities. We will be the winners in the end”. This statement translates the level of commitment of the CDC to the human rights project and its willingness to be bound by international standards.

Speaking during the follow-up committee meeting, the representative of the Director of the Centre noted that the success stories recorded in the framework of this project would feature in the thematic report on business and human rights to be published this year. He acknowledged the commitment of the CDC team to concert and propose impact oriented areas of action for the coming year, and congratulated the trainers for their engagement and quality of preparation and delivery of their respective sessions. A standard training team made up of the best out of all 16 trainers will be announced in early 2018 and will be in charge of all capacity building activities on the subject of human rights and business in the corporation. Discussions have also been engaged to put in place a human rights section in the corporation.