15 Jun 2017

A4ID provides inaugural business and human rights training for the East African legal community

A4ID has partnered with EALS to run professional development workshops on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

A4ID has partnered with the premier regional Bar Association in East Africa, the East Africa Law Society (EALS) to run professional development workshops on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which set out the international standards on businesses’ responsibility to respect human rights.

These workshops, which will be delivered in six jurisdictions in the region, will give lawyers the introduction needed to begin discussion on implementing the UNGPs and help mitigate against corporate-related human rights harm within East Africa’s fast growing economies.

The first workshop, entitled ‘The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Opportunities and Learnings for Lawyers’ will take place on 15 June 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda. The workshop will be delivered by Howard Morris and Yinsey Wang, respectively Senior of Counsel and Associate at leading global law firm and A4ID legal partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP.

Chief Executive Yasmin Batliwala said: “On 16 June 2017, the day following the first workshop, the world marks the six-year anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This programme is both pertinent and timely. As East Africa records the fastest economic growth on the African continent, this is an opportune moment for an exchange between legal practitioners on the fundamental role of the legal profession in driving responsible and sustainable growth and development. A4ID is honoured to support EALS’ drive to build business and human rights capacity among its membership.”

Isaac Okero, Chairperson of the EALS Professional Development Committee commented: “The East Africa Law Society identified the UNGPs as an essential component of professional development for our membership and welcomes this opportunity to invite international experts to support knowledge building on business and human rights.”

Mr Okero added: “Following the delivery of these trainings, EALS will develop regional guidance on business and human rights to further promote and cement the implementation of the UNGPs into legal practice in the region.”

Howard Morris, Senior of Counsel at Morrison & Foerster, commented: “The transnational and broad nature of commerce means that businesses’ impact on human rights crosses jurisdictions and engages diverse areas of legal practice. Being able to advise business clients on how to undertake human rights due diligence and mitigate against human rights harm offers a crucial opportunity for the international legal community and, at the same time, is increasingly considered to be integral to legal professional ethics.”

A4ID will deliver two more workshops this month with trainers from Allen & Overy; first in Kampala, Uganda, on 27 June, then in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 29 June. The A4ID-EALS partnership will continue as subsequent trainings are delivered in Burundi, Kenya and Zanzibar.

The workshops received financial and technical support from Rule of Law Expertise UK (ROLE UK) and UKAid.

A4ID Rwanda Training