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1 Apr 2020

Business for Social Responsibility

Business for Social Responsibility introduces rapid human rights due diligence tool for companies during COVID-19 outbreak

“COVID-19: A Rapid Human Rights Due Diligence Tool for Companies”, 30 March 2020

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) expect companies to identify and assess actual or potential adverse human rights impacts and to take appropriate action to address them. Under normal circumstances, companies have weeks, months, or even years to complete this due diligence; not so in the age of COVID-19, when decisions are being made by the hour.

Using the UNGPs and the various human rights principles, standards, and methodologies upon which the UNGPs were built, BSR had previously developed a rapid human rights due diligence tool to help with this rapid decision-making challenge. We’re making this tool publicly available…

The range of human rights issues at stake today is huge:

  • Under what circumstances might a company share personal data with others—such as governments, public health agencies, researchers, or civil society organizations—to support public health efforts?
  • In what circumstances—such as the provision of essential products and services—should employees be required to continue working for the public good even though it may adversely impact their own health and safety?
  • How should companies act if governments abuse their emergency powers by limiting human rights by more or for longer than is necessary?

The BSR tool guides companies through human rights due diligence in situations when very little time is available. The tool also makes specific reference to the Siracusa Principles, adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1984, which describe limitations on the restriction on human rights that governments may apply for reasons of public health or national emergency…

Part of the following timelines

Business for Social Responsibility introduces rapid human rights due diligence tool for companies during COVID-19 outbreak

Human rights guidance & tools for companies during COVID-19