Checklist: Documenting corporate human rights impacts

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This checklist is developed by ESCR-Net & Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, incorporating feedback from civil society representatives around the world.

Civil society has used the checklist so far to document over 80 cases of abuses involving companies in Mexico, as well as cases in Kenya and Malawi.

FAQs   [Word version]  The FAQs (frequently asked questions) above provide details of why and how to use this checklist.

For further information, or if you have used the checklist to document a case, please contact: Marti Flacks ([email protected]).

Note: Visual and audio material is also welcome, e.g. photos, videos, recordings.


Checklist to initiate documentation of a case of alleged human rights abuse involving corporate actors
Fill out the online form - Download Word version 

Security notice: Only answer the questions that you feel safe or able to do so, and that will not pose a risk to others.

Name: [If you wish to provide it]


Organization: [If you wish to provide it]


Affiliation to the incident or situation: [If you wish to provide it]


The idea of the checklist questions below is that the answers will be public; if there are any answers that you do not wish to be made public, please indicate.  Questions 1-3 are sufficient for a local community to conduct initial documentation of an incident or situation.  Questions 4-6 are optional; these could be completed with involvement from a supporting organization.

1. General details about the incident or ongoing situation

1.1. Nature of the incident or situation: Describe what happened, or what is still happening (if an ongoing situation).

1.2. Timeframe: When did this happen, or when did it begin (if an ongoing situation)?

1.3 Location: Where did this occur / or where is it occurring (if an ongoing situation), e.g. name of village, town, country, significant landmarks.

1.4 People affected: How many people are affected? How many people could potentially be affected? Say a bit about the people affected (e.g. characteristics of the community, or, if an individual, relevant history)

2. Actors involved

2.1 Business: Name of the company or companies involved in this incident or ongoing situation, and nature of their involvement, if known

2.2. Government: Were / are local or national government officials or security forces involved as well? If so, what specific actions or role did they play, if known?

2.3 Others: If you are aware of any other actors involved in this incident or situation, please describe (e.g. foreign aid agencies, international banks)

3. Current and potential threats or danger

3.1 Are there any threats or danger to you, to other stakeholders, or to any advocates who are working on behalf of those who have been harmed? Please describe the nature of these threats.

3.2 Is there any concern that there may be additional harm in the imminent future?

4. Desired outcomes

4.1 Aim: What outcome are you hoping to achieve, through documentation followed by further steps that are taken?

4.2. Obstacles: What are the main obstacles or barriers to achieving this aim?

5. Existing documentation - written and visual

5.1 Have any written reports or visual material produced or published about the incident or ongoing situation? [please include hyperlinks if possible]

6. Previous steps and communication

6.1 Communication with business and government: Have you already communicated with the company or government about this situation, and if so what was the response?

6.2 Communication with outside groups: Have you communicated about the incident with any additional outside individuals or groups? If so, whom and what was the response?

6.3. Actions (including legal): Has any action already been taken to address this situation, or is any action underway or planned? If so, please explain what was done, any obstacles encountered, and any outcomes so far. (Examples could include legal action, community organization, media outreach or others)

Comments, and suggestions for guidance


You do not have to give us your name. Please only give us your name if you are comfortable with this.
You do not have to provide an email. If you do provide one, we may contact you about your feedback.