Assessing human rights impacts
Assessing human rights impacts

The following Risk & Compliance guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Assessing human rights impacts
  • The need for a human rights impact assessment
  • Stage 1—preparation
  • Stage 2—identification
  • Stage 3—stakeholder engagement
  • Stage 4—assessment
  • What happens next—mitigating, managing, evaluating and reporting on impacts

This Practice Note contains guidance on assessing the risk of your organisation causing or contributing to an adverse human rights impact. Human rights due diligence and risk assessment is not currently a legal requirement in the UK but it is a key part of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). It is also good business practice and can help protect an organisation from operational and reputational risks associated with causing or contributing to an adverse human rights impact.

The UNGPs are concerned with addressing adverse human rights impacts by business enterprises, ie when the ability of an individual or group of individuals to enjoy their human rights is removed or reduced by the action (or omission) of an organisation. Business organisations operate around the world with increasingly complex structures and supply chains. The UNGPs establish the principle that all business organisations have a corporate responsibility to respect and manage human rights issues in their operations—over and above any legal requirements imposed upon them. This cannot be achieved without carrying out some form of human rights due diligence and impact assessment.

The need for a human rights impact assessment

The UNGPs envisage a four stage due diligence process consisting of:

  1. assessing actual and potential human rights impacts