7 April 2020 - Business & Human Rights and Semilla Consultors have jointly developed a human rights due diligence framework, focused on the COVID-19 crisis. This framework provides tools for companies in these turbulent times not only to safeguard the turnover and progress of the company, but also to respect the human rights of their employees, workers in the supply chain and customers. Read more about the framework here.
7 April 2020 - On this page we keep track of developments concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the consequences for business and human rights.
- Workers on banana plantations in Ecuador often have respiratory problems due to exposure to high amounts of pesticides. As a result, there is a fear of getting COVID-19, which is often more serious for people with underlying diseases. Inadequate safety measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus on the plantations. However, not coming is not an option: this equates to being fired.
- In the COVID-19 crisis, several governments order medical gloves from manufacturers in Malaysia who were accused last year of forced labour and poor working conditions: workers were reportedly forced to work 12-hour days, 30 consecutive days without rest.
- Italian factory workers still working in the essential sectors of the country indicate that many workplaces do not provide sufficient protection against the spread of COVID-19. For example, there is too little space to keep a distance from each other and no disinfectant gel is present.
- In Cambodia there are protests against several manufacturers, because workers are sent home in the COVID-19 crisis without compensation. Employers are obliged to pay 40% of their employees' wages, with the government compensating another 20%. In reality this is not done by employers.
- Workers working on offshore oil platforms in Azerbaijan have to stay there for more than a month instead of the usual two weeks, due to the threat of COVID-19, in order to reduce the risk of contamination on the platform. The workers have to work twice as long a day and because they are away from home for a longer period of time they experience a heavy psychological burden.
- A mining company in Zimbabwe held workers around a mine for three days in inadequate conditions, because they feared COVID-19. Employees who wanted to see relatives in the meantime were suspended without clear return arrangements.
- Human rights organisations in Honduras express concern about the emergency measures taken by the Honduran government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The package of measures does not include the right to freedom of expression. The organisations are concerned about human rights violations, as previous emergencies have led to this.
- Philippine factories are closed due to a lack of material. These include factories making cement, car parts and electronics. Factory employees are forced to go home, without being paid. This leads to unrest.
- French employees of distribution centres who use their 'right to refuse' because their workplace does not offer sufficient safety in the COVID-19 crisis do not receive payment from their employer.
- Thousands of migrant workers in Qatar live in densely populated camps. There is an outbreak of COVID-19 here, and the densely populated camps make it impossible to keep the right distance or comply with hygiene rules. The camp is closed: no one is allowed in or out anymore.
- Delivery couriers affected by COVID-19 in the UK receive little or no statutory sick pay, which could push workers to continue working to stay financially afloat. This endangers the safety and health of workers.
- In particular, workers in the service sector, such as parcel delivery workers and cleaners, are experiencing many problems due to COVID-19 in the US. They often do not have paid sick leave and are paid for the number of orders or attendees, which makes their work vulnerable. They also have frequent contact with people, which increases the risk of infection.
21 January 2020 - A recent urban development project in Angola resulted in three thousand families being forcibly evicted from their homes without any form of compensation. Therefore, we have added a risk relating to human rights violations and corruption in Angola.
14 January 2020 - We added the raw material scanner (grondstoffenscanner) as advice. In this scanner you can look up the CSR risks for different raw materials and you will get information on how to deal with these risks.
5 January 2020 - We have updated the US Department of State's annual source 'Country Reports on Human Rights Practices'. This source provides information about labour rights, corruption, trade union freedom and child labour worldwide.