KNCHR highlights human rights in Kenya’s renewable energy sector - Breaking Kenya News

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KNCHR highlights human rights in Kenya’s renewable energy sector

 

(KNCHR) highlights Human Rights in renewable energy
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has urged energy companies to adhere to human rights standards, emphasizing the protection of host communities and workers’ labour and health rights.

The commission highlighted the importance of avoiding past human rights violations seen during the fossil fuel era, such as community displacements, inadequate compensation, forced evictions, and increased environmental pollution.

Commission Central Regional Coordinator Ruth Getobai called for clean energy companies to conduct due diligence and establish grievance mechanisms to ensure harmonious relations with host communities.

Speaking to company representatives in Naivasha, Getobai noted numerous complaints about violations of employee rights and insufficient employment opportunities for local communities.

The KNCHR has been working to educate and build the capacities of companies to follow the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, adopted in 2022.

This plan provides guidelines for businesses to respect human rights in their operations and offers pathways for victims of violations to seek judicial and alternative remedies.

As Kenya leads the way in renewable energy, Getobai stressed the need for companies to address complaints and grievances from host communities with a human rights perspective.

She also urged compliance with national laws and regulations from agencies such as NEMA and public health authorities to minimize environmental and health issues.

Getobai praised the progress local companies have made in respecting human rights standards during their projects, which has led to shared prosperity with host communities.

She warned that the commission would pursue legal action against companies that continue to violate human rights standards regarding land acquisition, labour rights, and compensation, though as a last resort.

Dr. Joseph Kibugu, the African Manager at the Business and Human Rights Centre, highlighted Kenya’s adoption of the Action Plan on Business and Human Rights as a significant step in ensuring companies adhere to human rights standards.

He noted that Kenya’s legal and regulatory framework if fully enforced, would hold companies accountable for human rights violations and ensure local communities benefit from resources.

Dr. Kibugu emphasized the need for increased budget allocations to regulatory bodies, including NEMA, to empower them to enforce human rights standards.

He also stressed the importance of companies undertaking human rights due diligence to mitigate potential harms and implement remedy interventions to avoid future financial burdens from judicial actions.

Kenya’s commitment to investing in renewable and clean energy sources has resulted in over 80 per cent of energy connected to the national grid being sourced from clean energy.

The country has diversified its clean energy portfolio to include solar, wind, and geothermal sources, generating over 900MW of electricity.

These investments have positioned Kenya as a leader in the transition to 100 per cent clean energy by 2030 and clean cooking sources by 2032.

The Rift Valley region, with an estimated 10,000 MW of geothermal potential, has seen significant developments by KenGen at the Olkaria geothermal wells and Eburru forest, and by the Geothermal Development Corporation at the Menengai area of Nakuru.

BY KNA

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