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BLIHR | Step 3

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STEP 3: Perform Human Rights Impact Assessments for specific projects or operations at the feasibility stage

An impact assessment of any kind has to be timely and the degree of due diligence undertaken should be appropriate to the scale of impact or the nature of country involved.
 
The Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) needs to relate to:

 

  • The human rights base-line and risk assessments already undertaken (see Steps One and Two);
  • Social and Environmental Impact Assessments (ESIAs) for the same or similar projects. 


It might be the rights-aware components set out here are best integrated into existing ESIAs or a bespoke HRIA is needed. This is very much your decision and will depend on the number of factors including the scope and nature of your existing approaches as well as the capacity of managers on the ground to undertake this work.
 

There is no one agreed model for what a HRIA should contain, but it is the experience of BLIHR that it is likely to include:
 
  • A strong human rights baseline and risk assessment (Steps One and Two);
  • Establishing the sphere of influence of your company in relation to a specific project and the nature of relationships with all stakeholders (contractors, partners, suppliers, employees, local communities, government, civil society, investors etc.);
  • An analysis of likely impact across all human rights (with reference to the Essential Steps contained in the BLIHR Matrix in this Guide);
  • The deeper impact on a smaller group of rights of particular relevance to the company and its relationship to stakeholders as rights-holders;
  • A programme of community engagement and consultation that is bedded in rights-aware principles, including recourse to compliant mechanisms and in which the full community can be represented; clarity about how the information generated through research and engagement can be integrated and actioned upon within the core management systems of the business.

Special attention should be paid to situations where local national law does not adequately respond—in text or by practice—to the protection of human rights otherwise afforded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the associated covenants.  For example, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are sometimes not protected by national law, notwithstanding international standards that safeguard such human rights.  Companies must find a way of identifying such conflicts and addressing them within the context of their operations.

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