There is no business in the world that exists in a vacuum. Businesses are about people. Ever heard of people buy people? The greatest anchor of business is trust. It is indeed true that people don’t buy products and services, they buy trust. It is the trust that makes people tick to a product or service.
Since businesses deal with human beings, then it is factual to say that business are always in constant touch with human rights and freedoms. Human rights are basic rights and freedoms that protect every human being.
Businesses, not only in Kenya but the world over have a significant impact on the way we live our life and enjoy these human rights, whether it’s as an employee or a customer. As United Nations Human Rights Puts it in its Guiding Principles, States must protect against human rights abuse within their territory and/or jurisdiction by third parties, including business enterprises. This requires taking appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress such abuse through effective policies, legislation, regulations, and adjudication.
Tech companies have a duty to ensure that they respect the right to privacy and uphold data protection laws and generally treat their customers with dignity and respect in all their undertakings. In most cases, customers trust tech companies with volumes of personal data, some of which end up landing in the wrong hands, in the event the business shares the data without the knowledge of the customer.
In recent years Kenya has seen a significant increase in foreign investment and remarkable growth in the domestic private sector. While these trends may support sustainable development, they may also adversely affect workers’ rights, communities, and the environment. Adverse effects from business activities range from community displacements, child labor, environmental degradation, and detestable working conditions. Without deliberate state stewardship, Kenya’s expanding investments may lead to unmitigated violations of human rights.
Currently, Kenya does not have a functional National Action Plan that outlines expectations for companies to respect human rights wherever they operate. The UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011. Since then, the international community has urged countries to adopt NAPs to promote the implementation of business and human rights frameworks and Kenya should follow suit.
The development of a NAP presents a government with the opportunity to review the extent of its implementation of business and human rights frameworks, including the UNGPs, at the national level and then to identify gaps and reforms to increase coherence with the government’s human rights commitments across business-related legal and policy frameworks and programs.
Some of the issues connected to business and human rights in Kenya include data privacy issues on money lending apps such as the Fuliza Service Safaricom product which informs a sender that the person they are sending money to has a loan. There are also apps that send messages to your contacts and ask them to tell you to pay your loan.
Education on terms and Conditions where there is little awareness on some of the Terms & Conditions that some of these products/services or apps provide. Most people do not read the fine print and/or read but don’t understand.
The Blacklisting on Credit Reference Bureau where people are being listed people on CRB without proper notice. Once one gets on the CRB list, getting clearance is a hassle.