Bongani Majola, chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), said the involvement of businesses in supporting human rights is essential if human rights in South Africa and elsewhere are to advance.
“Human rights are not regularly talked about in South Africa, so holding dialogue on this matter is essential,” Majola told participants at the two-day Business and Human Rights Dialogue conference, which was sponsored by the European Union and the Danish Institute for Human Rights and which kicked off at the Capital Moloko Hotel in Sandton, Gauteng, on Tuesday.
“The SAHRC is trying to develop a culture of human rights, and to this end is monitoring and advising on what steps should be taken to implement human rights,” Majola told the participants, who included human rights lawyers, NGOs and academics.
The human rights commissioner said there were several steps businesses could take to support human rights because it was impossible for government alone to enforce these rights in a country plagued by poverty and unemployment.
“Businesses can get involved in their communities and establish codes of conduct for how their businesses operate, as well as follow labour laws,” said Majola.
Outlining the importance of businesses’ involvement, Majola pointed out that corporations were almost invariably involved in the abuse of human rights, including the involvement of South African companies in the recent outbreak of listeriosis in meat products.
– African News Agency (ANA)