Countdown to Human Rights Day
UN Voluntary Fund helps those on the road to recovery from slavery
05 April 2022
Submissions now online (See below)
The pandemic and the related severe socioeconomic consequences have been a test of leadership and service delivery for governments and businesses alike. It has highlighted existing inequalities, exacerbated them, and showed that protection of human rights is especially critical in times of crisis. This period has served as a reminder that, in times of crisis, human rights protection can be compromised leaving millions of people and communities vulnerable, in situations of fear and abuse, exposed to danger and the real risk of death.
The pandemic has demonstrated that to effectively protect human rights under such crisis conditions, standards and protection measures must not only be maintained but significantly strengthened. It is critical for States, businesses, and all stakeholders to learn the lessons of the pandemic and take all appropriate practical measures to limit the human cost of future crises and achieve solutions that save lives and protect human rights, even when crisis cannot be averted. The pandemic has been a human rights crisis of immense proportions, but it should also be a wake-up-call and trigger for States, the international community and business to take the necessary action that is commensurate to the challenge.
The United Nations’ Working Group on Business and Human Rights (the Working Group) repeatedly emphasised what is required from all relevant stakeholders to ensure responsible business conduct during the pandemic and in the recovery period.
Against this background, the Working Group decided to focus its forthcoming report to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022 on the lessons learnt from the pandemic and the identification of opportunities and challenges related to protection, prevention, response, and redress for business-related human rights abuses based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). It seeks to consider how the business and human rights agenda can contribute to efforts to build back better following the pandemic, and to address emerging new global crises on the horizon.
The Working Group seeks written contributions from a multi-stakeholder group to feed information into its forthcoming report “COVID-19 pandemic: lessons learnt and moving forward” to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2022.
The Working Group therefore wishes to receive inputs from Member States, businesses, business organisations/business associations, trade unions, national human rights institutions, UN entities and civil society organisations to the following questionnaires to help enrich this upcoming report.