Kenya faulted over investment policies

July 17, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 17 – The government is still lagging behind in formulating investment policies that respect the human rights of workers, a report by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) indicates.

The report, which was released on Friday, indicts the horticulture industry as well as the Export Processing Zones for ‘gross human rights violations’.

KHRC Programme Officer Louiza Kabiru said despite growth in the horticultural sector and the increasing number of companies operating within the EPZ over the years, conditions for workers have not improved.

“The horticultural sector employs more than 1.2 million people but because most developing countries are just keen on attracting investment in the country they don’t bother about the plight of such people,” Ms Kabiru pointed out.

She said their research also singled out the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade for not performing its monitoring role effectively.

On her part, the Vice President of the International Federation of Human Rights Arnold Tsunga said there was need to reorient policies to suit the working populace.

“As it stands the kind of trade agreements being signed are more geared to suiting investors and where there is any form of regulation it seems to be highly lopsided,” Mr Tunga pointed out.

He emphasised the need to create a balance between growing the economic environment in the country and the welfare of its people.

The report is recommending that the best way forward is the formation of an inter-ministerial committee to look into the issue by ensuring that foreign countries are made more responsible to local workers and to emphasise on the need for their companies to do the same.

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