Business and human rights defenders: ISHR meets Working Group Chair and launches Business Monitor in French


In a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Commission Working Group on Human Rights and the Extractive Industries, ISHR analysed the situation facing human rights defenders working on corporate accountability, proposed measures for their protection, and delivered a copy of the new French version of its publication on the issue.

Cet article existe également en français ici.

(Banjul, The Gambia) - ISHR this week launched its special edition Business and Human Rights Defender Monitor in French, delivering the first copy to the Chairman of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights in Africa, Mr Pacifique Manirakiza.

Commissioner Manirakiza, who features in the publication, said he thought it represented a comprehensive resource on what national, regional and international mechanisms can offer to defenders working on corporate accountability and how activists can engage with them.

‘The extractive industry is booming in Africa. Therefore, the role of defenders in preventing human rights violations in the context of natural resource exploitation is crucial,’ he said, ‘We rely on them to bring to the attention of the Working Group those abuses that do occur, and we aim to support them in demanding that States implement adequate remedies for victims and strengthen policies to guarantee non-repetition’.

Earlier today, ISHR made public a joint call by leading human rights organisations and jewelry companies for Angola to drop criminal charges and guarantee the right to free expression of award-winning journalist and corporate accountability activist Rafael Marques. Marques is currently on trial on criminal defamation charges associated with his publication of a book exposing corporate human rights violations in Angola's diamond mining industry.

Demand has been high for the publication, which was initially printed to accompany the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in December, but which has proven popular for the combination of practical guidance and high level opinion pieces. This special edition Monitor now exists in English and Spanish, as well as French.

ISHR is in Banjul to carry out advocacy around the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights, which mandates the Working Group. Representatives of ISHR and the Working Group discussed how the Commission’s Special Mechanisms might develop their support for activists working on issues related to corporate accountability.

‘These defenders are some of the continent’s most vulnerable,’ said ISHR Advocacy and Communications Manager Ben Leather. ‘The Working Group is clearly aware of many of the risks they face and keen to develop a more comprehensive analysis of their protection needs. We look forward to future collaboration with them in this respect’.

ISHR's Clément Voulé is an expert member of the Working Group.

For more information, contact Advocacy and Communications Manager Ben Leather at


  • Africa
  • Corporate accountability
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  • Angola