Liberia Back in Business?
Conflict and human rights issues in a post conflict environment
Economic development is an important element in Liberias transformation to a peaceful and prosperous country. However, private sector investment also risks causing adverse human rights impacts, sparking conflict between communities and companies.
Private sector investments in Liberia so far have failed to deliver meaningful development to the majority of the Liberian people. Human rights violations as a result of business activities are creating tension and conflicts between communities and companies as well as communities and state institutions.
Land conflicts increasingly turn violent, which, in a context where land disputes were one of the factors causing the long civil war, can potentially undermine Liberias fragile peace.
This paper aims to highlight the human rights concerns when businesses operate in a conflict-affected area like Liberia. It provides a background to the Liberian context and identifies major human rights and conflict risks.
Recommendations are provided for businesses that are currently operating in Liberia, or that are considering doing so. These recommendations highlight that, in accordance with international standards, businesses should not only ensure their own activities do not result in human rights violations, but that they also have a responsibility to assess the business partners they work with and conduct enhanced due diligence in order to prevent becoming involved in any human rights violations. Recommendations are also provided to governments promoting private sector development in the country, and to civil societies monitoring the impacts of businesses on human rights.
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