Human rights guidance & tools for companies during COVID-19

As the scale of COVID-19's impact on people, economy and planet continues to emerge, "the relevance of the values and standards of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights grows exponentially". Thorough human rights action and due diligence are key to responsible business conduct both in the immediate and in the wake of the crisis.

Please find below a selection of COVID-19 human rights guidance & tools for companies, general or issue-specific, and developed by international organisations, NGOs, think tanks, companies & others.

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15 April 2020

IOM publishes guidance for employers & businesses to strengthen migrant worker protection amid COVID-19 outbreak

Author: International Organization for Migration (UN)

“COVID-19: Guidance for employers and business to enhance migrant worker protection during the current health crisis”, 7 April 2020

The [International Organization for Migration (IOM)] document is designed to offer preliminary guidance to employers to enhance their response to the current health crisis brought on by COVID-19 and, in particular, to offer advice to establish effective protections for migrant workers in employer operations and supply chains. [The guidance] is a “living document” and will be updated regularly for the duration of the pandemic.

[The guidance covers]: General considerations…, enhancing [workplace] safety and health…, mitigating stress and anxiety…, promoting universal access to health care and insurance…, adapting work arrangements…, adapting…living conditions of migrant workers…, safeguarding the rights of migrant workers…, payment of wages and economic well-being of migrant workers…, access to social protection…, measures to address…unique vulnerability of domestic workers…, combating xenophobia and social exclusion…, ensuring ethical recruitment…, return of migrant workers during the pandemic…, communicating with migrant workers…, enhancing…compliance monitoring and supply chain due diligence, [plus further resources]…

[Follow links to the full IOM guidance]

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15 April 2020

UNDP publishes 'Rapid Self-Assessment' tool to help companies consider their human rights impacts & actions during COVID-19 crisis

Author: UNDP (B+HR in Asia Team)

'Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business', 10 April 2020

...How businesses respond to the [COVID-19] crisis - especially those firms who receive state support to continue operations - will shape public attitudes towards the private sector for years to come.

[L]eading companies... know that they must... address any negative impacts recent changes in their operations may be having on society and the environment. These companies understand that demonstrating respect for human rights, especially in the midst of harsh economic circumstances, is a strong reflection on their core values. They understand that preventing, mitigating and addressing adverse human rights impacts is key to maintaining trust - with clients, consumers, employees, shareholders, and communities - long after the crisis has passed.

For this reason, UNDP has designed a simple and accessible tool... to help businesses consider and manage the human rights impacts of their operations... Importantly, the C19 Rapid Self-Assessment is not to be misunderstood as a comprehensive human rights due diligence tool as outlined under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Instead, this assessment is offered to companies as a partial but informative view of human rights actions in the specific context of COVID-19...

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Author: UNDP (B+HR in Asia Team)

2019 冠状病毒疫情(COVID-19)的全球蔓延给原本已经面临严重不平等和生态脆弱的当今世界带来巨大的社会-经济冲击。...企业正以前所未有的规模面临破产,千百万人将因此失业。在此情况下,人们对全球经济持久性以及支持 这一体系的规范和制度的信心也备受考验。工商企业,尤其是那些获得国家支持得以继续运营的公司如何应对危机,将在未来几年中重塑公众对私营部门的态度。


因此,联合国开发计划署(UNDP)开发了这一简单易用的《2019 冠状病毒疫情下的人权尽责管理:企业快速自我评估工具》,帮助企业思考和管理其经营活动对人权的影响。这份"非详尽式”的潜在行动清单可让您快速而持续地反思许多行业普遍存在的人权风险和影响。...本工具中关键行动或考虑因素按照新冠疫情危机时期的三个阶段——准备期,响应期和恢复期组织和区分。尽管工具提供了初步指导,但联合国开发计划署仍建议所有公司考虑立即采取措施,进行全面的人权影响评估,应对疫情对其运营和供应链中人权的即时和长期影响。...

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Author: UNDP (B+HR in Asia Team)

2019 冠狀病毒疫情(COVID-19)的全球蔓延給原本已經面臨嚴重不平等和生態脆弱的當今世界帶來巨大的社會-經濟衝擊。 ...企業正以前所未有的規模面臨破產,千百萬人將因此失業。在此情況下,人們對全球經濟持久性以及支持這一體系的規範和製度的信心也備受考驗。工商企業,尤其是那些獲得國家支持得以繼續運營的公司如何應對危機,將在未來幾年中重塑公眾對私營部門的態度。

領先公司...認識到,他們不僅有責任對公共利益作出貢獻,更應當應對因近期運營變化可能對社會和環境造成的任何負面影響。 ...在嚴峻的經濟環境中,表達對人權的尊重尤其能有力傳遞其核心價值觀。 ...預防、減輕和消除不利的人權影響是與客戶、消費者、僱員、股東和社區保持長久(甚至在危機結束之後的很長時間內)信任的關鍵。

因此,聯合國開發計劃署(UNDP)開發了這一簡單易用的《2019 冠狀病毒疫情下的人權盡責管理:企業快速自我評估工具》,幫助企業思考和管理其經營活動對人權的影響。這份"非詳盡式”的潛在行動清單可讓您快速而持續地反思許多行業普遍存在的人權風險和影響。 ...本工具中關鍵行動或考慮因素按照新冠疫情危機時期的三個階段——準備期,響應期和恢復期組織和區分。儘管工具提供了初步指導,但聯合國開發計劃署仍建議所有公司考慮立即採取措施,進行全面的人權影響評估,應對疫情對其運營和供應鏈中人權的即時和長期影響。 ...

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7 April 2020

New guide proposes a due diligence framework for businesses to manage the COVID-19 crisis

Author: Business & Human Rights (BHR) and Semilla Consultores

"COVID-19: Business and Human Rights: How to take advantage of the due diligence framework to manage the crisis", 1st April 2020 

...This guide proposes that businesses use the human rights due diligence framework as a starting point to approach the crisis in the context of their business. It is intended to be a practical contribution to illuminate the key concepts and the rationale of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Businesses that already have a human rights due diligence procedure in place, will have stronger capacity to react in a more effective and faster manner.

Furthermore, we propose the due diligence framework of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as a methodological structure, oriented not only to the identification of risks and impacts and their management, but also to build differentiated capacities in terms of learning, anticipation and organizational resilience...

This document is not an exhaustive guide on the subject, nor does it substitute the measures imposed by governments. It is only intended to serve as an orientation for business leaders to help them integrate the human rights the human rights approach into their decision making process and communications, in the context of COVID-19 crisis management....

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7 April 2020

Respecting Human Rights and the COVID-19 Outbreak: addressing the immediate challenges

Author: Raquel Althoff, Lisa Szeponik, Cecilia Barral Diego & Markus Löning - Löning Human Rights & Responsible Business

...This short briefing aims to raise awareness among businesses and to advocate that human rights due diligence is more important than ever...

Action 1: Conduct a mapping exercise to identify who might be most impacted by the crisis.

Action 2: Prioritise workers’ safety and/or their financial security over executive pay and/or shortterm returns to shareholders, as recommended by UNPRI.

Action 3: Get prepared to address potential discrimination in the workplace.

Action 4: Include CSR representatives and human rights experts in crisis management committees.

Action 5: Give special attention to workers along supply chains.

Action 6: Support local communities located in the influence area of businesses operations.

Action 7: Public positioning on the support of appropriate action.


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6 April 2020

Pillar Two compiles resources for companies & investors to navigate responsibility to respect human rights during COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Pillar Two

"Managing human rights risks during and after Covid-19", 02 Apr 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented new human rights challenges for business, as well as exacerbated existing issues. These challenges will evolve over time, and it is important for companies to develop clear thinking around ways to responsibly conduct business during and after the crisis. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, as articulated in the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights, is constant... The World Health Organization and the International Chamber of Commerce have released a joint statement calling for action from the private sector to tackle the pandemic... To help companies navigate the responsibility to respect human rights during this time, several organisations have released resources touching on human rights issues, from modern slavery risk management to interacting with local communities...

Examples of business practice: 

  • Business and human rights resource centre (BHRRC) COVID-19 portal...
  • COVIDbizaction twitter account...
  • Company responses to tackle COVID-19 and company responses to protect workers in their value chain...

Insights and guidance for businesses:

  • Rapid human rights due diligence tool...
  • This is the human impact of covid-19 – and how businesses can help...

Migrant labour, supply chains, and modern slavery:

  • Five ways covid-19 is changing global migration...

Responsible investment:

  • COVID-19: Harnessing the power of collective investor action for change...

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1 April 2020

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

Author: Business for Social Responsibility

“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…

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Author: 商务社会责任国际协会(Business for Social Responsibility)




商务社会责任国际协会(Business for Social Responsibility) 利用《工商企业与人权指导原则》以及《指导原则》所根植的各项人权原则、标准和方法,设计了一项快速的人权尽责管理工具来帮助应对这一快速决策的挑战。我们现开放该工具供各界使用…


  • 在什么情况下公司可以与其他人(例如政府、公共卫生机构、研究人员或公民社会组织)分享个人数据以支持公共卫生工作?
  • 在什么情况下(例如提供基本产品和服务),即使可能对员工的健康和安全产生不利影响,仍应要求员工继续为公共利益服务?
  • 如果政府动用紧急权力,导致人权限制措施比必要的程度更严厉或执行时间更长,公司应如何应对?

商务社会责任国际协会的工具指导公司在短时间内进行人权尽责管理。该工具还特别提及了联合国经济及社会理事会1984年通过的《锡拉库扎原则》(Siracusa Principles),其中描述了政府基于公共卫生或国家紧急状态的原因而可能对人权施加的限制。...

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Author: 商務社會責任國際協會(Business for Social Responsibility)




商務社會責任國際協會(Business for Social Responsibility) 利用《工商企業與人權指導原則》以及《指導原則》所根植的各項人權原則、標準和方法,設計了一項快速的人權盡責管理工具來幫助應對這一快速決策的挑戰。我們現開放該工具供各界使用…


  • 在什麼情況下公司可以與其他人(例如政府、公共衛生機構、研究人員或公民社會組織)分享個人數據以支持公共衛生工作?
  • 在什麼情況下(例如提供基本產品和服務),即使可能對員工的健康和安全產生不利影響,仍應要求員工繼續為公共利益服務?
  • 如果政府動用緊急權力,導致人權限制措施比必要的程度更嚴厲或執行時間更長,公司應如何應對?

商務社會責任國際協會的工具指導公司在短時間內進行人權盡責管理。該工具還特別提及了聯合國經濟及社會理事會1984年通過的《錫拉庫扎原則》(Siracusa Principles),其中描述了政府基於公共衛生或國家緊急狀態的原因而可能對人權施加的限制。 ...

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