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Lobby Government to Participate in UN Conference: Kenya's Bishops Charge Lawmakers

Catholic Bishops in Kenya. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Bishops in Kenya are urging Members of Parliament (MPs) to pressurize the government to “actively participate” in the planned United Nations (UN) Binding Treaty negotiations.

The 2021 UN Binding Treaty negotiations is expected to take place in Geneva, Switzerland from November 25 to 29.

In a message presented to the Partnership and Diplomacy Legislative closed-door meetings with the National Assembly Departmental Committee Environment and Natural Resource, members of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) make a humble request to legislators in Kenya.

“We humbly request the Departmental Committee of Environment and Natural Resource to lobby the Kenya Government and urge them to actively participate in 2021 United Nations Binding Treaty deliberations,” KCCB members say.

In the message presented by KCCB Chairman for the Commission for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Bishop John Oballa Owaa, the Catholic Church leaders say a treaty regulating activities of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) will benefit both local communities and investors. 

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TNCs, the Bishops say, "can affect people's enjoyment of their human rights either positively or negatively.” 

“Indeed, experience from Kenya indicates that these enterprises can and do infringe human rights with cases of environmental degradation, displacements, inadequate compensation and land grabbing,” they say in the message presented at the September 8 - 9 training organized by KCCB Liaison Desk in Kenya's Nakuru Diocese. 

KCCB members also express concern that “violations of human rights and the rights of peoples and nature have become inherent to transnational corporations' operations.”

TNCs, Catholic Bishops in Kenya say, “have been covering themselves with a solid armor made up of free trade and investment protection agreements and their respective sanctioning mechanisms.”

For these reasons, KCCB members who say the Church is driven by the option for the poor and common good principles, add, "the local communities should benefit from the resources equitably and their rights protected." 

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The Catholic Bishops in Kenya further say, “Policies and legislations should therefore secure Communities interest and TNCs held accountable for their actions.”

"We need to recognize human dignity in every person, whatever their race, language or condition," KCCB members say in their statement.