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This book examines the contemporary and contentious question of the critical connections between business and human rights, and the implementation of socially responsible norms in developing countries, with particular reference to Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa. Business enterprises and transnational corporate actors operate in a complex global environment, especially when operating in high risks sectors such as oil and gas, mining, construction, banking, and health care amongst others. Understanding human rights responsibilities, impacts and socially responsible behaviour for companies is therefore an essential component of corporate risk management in our current world. The release of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, an instrument consisting of 31 principles on this issue, has further underscored the emergence of a rapidly developing set of international law norms on human rights responsibilities of businesses and transnational corporations. It has also shaped the discourse on corporate accountability for human rights. In addition to minimizing litigation, financial and reputational risks, understanding and demonstrating corporate respect for human rights is vital to building a culture of trust and integrity amongst local communities, investors, and shareholders. While Africa has been at the receiving end of deleterious activities of corporate actors, it has failed to address corporate impunity and human rights violations by non-state actors. Questions abound revolving around the underpinnings of a corporate responsibility to respect human rights, that is, how non-western and particularly African conceptions of respect may help develop a ‘beyond do no harm’ approach to respect; policy discourses on human rights due diligence, human rights impact assessment; mandating corporate respect for human rights in both domestic and international law.
This book examines, clarifies, and unpacks the guiding principles of a rights-based approach to development and social inclusion. It offers an excellent exposition of regulatory capacity, institutional efficacy and democratic legitimacy of governance institutions that shape development including a comprehensive analysis of how states are shaping business and human rights discourses locally to develop a critical understanding of identified issues by exploring the latest theories through comparative lenses