Ensure Effective Regulation of the Business Sector to Minimize Human Rights Violations

  • 5 February 2024
  • Author: Agnes Nzembi
  • Number of views: 239
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Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

Press Statement: For Immediate Release                                

 Nairobi, Saturday 3rd February, 2024

ENSURE EFFECTIVE REGULATION OF THE BUSINESS SECTOR TO MINIMIZE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS


The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is deeply saddened by the loss of lives and serious injuries occasioned by a gas explosion at Mradi area in Embakasi, Nairobi on 1st February 2024. The explosion at the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant also resulted in loss of livelihoods, loss of property and jeopardized the health of many. It has been reported that a business enterprise was refilling gas cylinders when fire broke out and several people were injured and rushed to hospital, sadly – some have succumbed to the injuries. The KNCHR sends its condolences to the families of the deceased and wishes the injured quick and complete recovery.

The KNCHR notes with concern that various incidences of LPG cylinder explosions have been reported in the recent past with devastating consequences among them loss of lives and serious injuries. The KNCHR remains concerned that despite rejection of the applications for licensing of the Embakasi Plant by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the Plant nevertheless continued to operate.

Whereas the KNCHR lauds the Government of the Republic of Kenya for being the first African Country to domesticate the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights through the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP -BHR); the KNCHR decries the violations that Businesses in Kenya continue to occasion. Significant as the development and adoption of the NAP-BHR is; its effective implementation is what will guarantee Kenyans enhanced enjoyment of rights in the context of business operations.

Under the NAP-BHR, the State is expected to protect against business related human rights violations. It is expected that the State will ensure adequate regulatory environment and effective enforcement of the existing regulations to minimize incidences of human rights violations. In cases of reported violations, the State should take steps to investigate, punish the violators and secure effective remedy for the victims as well as initiate mechanisms to prevent further violations. The business sector is expected to ensure human rights due diligence, commit to respect human rights and remedy any violations related to its operations.

At this preliminary stage; the KNCHR calls for thorough investigations into the incident, access to remedy for victims of the tragedy and preventive measures against future occurrences. In particular the KNCHR calls for the following:-

  • The immediate closure of the LPG refiling plant.
  • Immediate and thorough audit of the extent to which LPG cylinders in Kenya comply with the required safety standards.
  • Audit of all licensed LPG refiling plants in the Country to determine their suitability and the adequacy of measures put in place to prevent gas leaks and explosions and to minimize casualties in the event of such occurrences.
  • Thorough investigations into the cause of the explosion and any culprits be brought to justice
  • A taskforce to look into and advise on effective regulation of the LPG sector in Kenya.
  • Businesses to conduct human rights due diligence and ensure access to remedy for any human rights violations linked to their operations.

The KNCHR urges the public to be vigilant and bring to the attention of relevant authorities high risk businesses operating near their places of residence. The KNCHR remains committed to helping the government as well as the business sector in the fulfillment of their human rights obligations.

 

Roseline Odede, HSC Chairperson

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

 

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