New tool to help businesses ensure human rights are respected in the COVID-19 response and recovery period

June 1, 2020

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BANGKOK – A new tool will help businesses consider and manage the human rights impacts of COVID-19 response and recovery in their operations.

Titled ‘Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business (C19 Rapid Self-Assessment)’, the newly released tool lists 48 potential actions for businesses to inform their actions based on relevant provisions of International Bill of Human Rights and the UN Guiding Principles. The tool was developed in the framework of the Business and Human Rights programme in Asia (B+HR Asia) which promotes long-term, multi-stakeholder led solutions to address human rights risks in business operations and supply chains.

The C19 Rapid Self-Assessment highlights the human rights risks and impacts that are common to many industries. 

  • Daimler AG plans to use the C19 Rapid Self-Assessment as guidance for recovery

  • Citibank Japan has translated the document for wider dissemination in Japan

  • Unilever has shared the tool with their suppliers

  • Amfori, a Brussels-based business association promoting open and sustainable trade, has sent the self-assessment to all its members 

  • Electronics Watch, an independent monitoring organization, is adapting the tool to prepare an instrument specifically for public buyers, to help them collect information, evaluate suppliers and ensure that human rights considerations are applied throughout electronics supply chains

“The C19 Rapid Self-Assessment offers practical support for both companies aiming to explore whether they do enough to ensure human rights considerations are embedded in their business operations at the times of the COVID-19 response and recovery, and those who are only starting to take the first steps in their human rights due diligence journey as we prepare for the ‘new normal”, added Livio Sarandrea UNDP’s Crisis Prevention and Rule of Law Specialist in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the instigation of several organizations, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the C19 Rapid Self-Assessment has been translated into seven languages—Bahasa, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Thai.

The tool is one of the first outputs of the recently launched B+HR Asia: Enabling Sustainable Economic Growth through the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, funded by the European Union and developed in collaboration with the B+HR Asia: Promoting Responsible Business Practices through Regional Partnerships project, funded by the Government of Sweden.

While the C19 Rapid Self-Assessment provides initial guidance, UNDP recommends that all companies consider further steps towards a fully-fledged human rights impact assessment, in response to COVID-19’s immediate and long-term effects on human rights in their operations and supply chains.