Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19

With the global spread of COVID-19, businesses are facing bankruptcy at an unprecedented scale, resulting in job losses for millions. In this context, confidence in the durability of the global economy, and by extension the norms and institutions that support it, are being tested like never before. How businesses respond to the crisis—especially those firms who receive state support to continue operations—will shape public attitudes towards the private sector for years to come.

In response to these circumstances, UNDP has designed a simple and accessible tool, the Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business (C19 Rapid Self-Assessment), to help businesses consider and manage the human rights impacts of their operations. This non-exhaustive list of potential actions allows for rapid but continuous reflection on the human rights risks and impacts common to many industries.

The C19 Rapid Self-Assessment is offered to companies as a partial but informative view of human rights actions in the specific context of COVID-19. The listed actions are based on relevant provisions of UN Human Rights Treaties, the ILO Fundamental Conventions, and the UNGPs. It is organized to present key actions or considerations along three stages of the COVID-19 crisis period: Prepare, Respond and Recover.

The C19 Rapid-Self Assessment is also inspired and guided by the global UNDP COVID-19 Integrated Response Offer. The tool has been developed within the framework of the Business and Human Rights in Asia (B+HR Asia) programme as 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.