Human Rights Assessments: Lessons Learned from the Extractives Sector

June 26, 2012
  • Alison Colwell

    Former Associate Director, BSR

The increased global expectation that business respect human rights, underscored by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, has pushed companies to demonstrate due diligence of both their operations and business relationships with suppliers, governments, and other partners. Human Rights Assessments (HRAs) demonstrate due diligence and enhance management of risks and opportunities. Based on BSR's experience conducting human rights assessments (HRAs) with extractives companies, we have learned that:

  1. Companies need to "know and show" that they are respecting human rights.
  2. Assessments are one part of an integrated approach to human rights management and should engage stakeholders.
  3. Businesses should take responsibility for respecting all rights in the International Bill of Rights.
  4. HRAs should be customized to companies' existing processes, such as risk assessments, and include opportunities as well as risks.
  5. HRA practitioners should engage the company throughout the entire process to increase the company's internal commitment and capacity.

For more information on HRAs, contact BSR's Alison Colwell or Faris Natour.

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