UNDP Developed a Rapid Self-Assessment Tool for Business to Support Human Rights During COVID-19

September 21, 2020

The COVID-19 has impacted Myanmar businesses across broad spectrum of issues. With the almost shutting down of global commerce,  local businesses – large, medium or small -  experienced the scaling down of activities as well as sharp decline in trade. Numerous workers were laid off for indefinite period of time. With the pandemic still recurrent across the world, large and small businesses brace for more impact.

To cope with the COVID-19, businesses are adapting themselves to the “new normal” measures in operating and management issues such as contributing medical supplies, initiating worker well-being, offering support to impacted communities. More than that, it is important for businesses to demonstrate respect for human rights during the harsh economic circumstances. Mitigating impacts on human values is an important element to maintain public trust in the long term.

United Nations Development  Programme (UNDP) has designed a simple and accessible tool, Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business, to help businesses consider and manage the human rights impacts of their operations. The self-assessment tool contains potential actions allowing for rapid but continuous reflection on the human rights risks and impacts common to many industries. It offers a partial but informative view of human rights actions in the specific context of COVID-19.

The  self-assessment is organized to present key actions or considerations along three stages of the COVID-19 crisis period - Prepare, Respond and Recover – on key aspects such as workplace hazards, labor rights, environmental and community impacts, safeguarding privacy, preventing stigma and discrimination, and corporate policy and management considerations etc.

For companies without a human rights policy, the self-assessment tool offers the opportunity to explore the feasibility of a written, public commitment to prevent, mitigate and addressing adverse human rights impacts.

The COVID-19 Rapid-Self Assessment is a joint product of the Enabling Sustainable Economic Growth through the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework project funded by the European Union and the Promoting Responsible Business Practices through Regional Partnerships project funded by the Government of Sweden.