Companies have the responsibility of engaging in business activities that respect human rights, this with regard to both their employees and partners.
Code of conduct for Human Rights
The UN has formalised a set of universal human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Furthermore, the Framework formulated by Special Representative John Ruggie has been an important conceptual element in this area since 2008. A growing number of companies are including the topic in their codes of conduct. In addition, the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) offer guidelines for employee rights.
A useful tool to assess the extent to which your organisation respects human rights is the Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA). The HRCA was developed by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) in collaboration with human rights organisations and companies in Europe.
The tool consists of 3 components:
- Country Risk Assessment (CRA) is intended to identify areas of risk in each country with regard to both legislation and its enforcement.
- Company Analysis (Human Rights Compliance Assessment - HRCA) assesses a company's internal policies, procedures, and practices based on a large number of questions and indicators. A full assessment involves over 350 questions and 1,000 indicators. The Quick Check comprises approximately 10% of all questions and is available free of charge.
- SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) provides insight into opportunities and risks. This analysis results in an action plan that companies can discuss with their stakeholders.
Human Rights Portal
The Danish Institute for Human Rights is currently in the process of setting up a Human Rights and Business Country Portal. This portal will indicate the legal and practical human rights situation in more than 100 countries.