Key Consideration for In-House Counsel: Reviewing Domestic Law Against International Human Rights Standards

In reviewing your current operating locations, do you know the extent to which domestic law is protective of human rights?

Is there a disconnect between your company’s stated commitment to respect human rights and the due diligence efforts that are part of your day-to-day business operations?

Human rights due diligence is a critical component of corporate efforts to operate with respect for human rights, while also managing legal, reputational, and operational risks. One step that companies should undertake when considering any operating environment is an evaluation of whether compliance with domestic law will enable your company to operate consistently with internationally-recognized human rights standards.

In reviewing domestic laws on issues ranging from minimum working age to non-discrimination, companies should consider the following questions:

  • Is local law consistent with an internationally-recognized human rights standard?
  • Is local law not inconsistent with an internationally-recognized human rights standard?
  • Is local law inconsistent with internationally-recognized human rights standards?

The answers to these questions may provide critical information regarding operating locations that could pose greater risks of human rights concerns. You may identify gaps in existing internal compliance and audit programs. This information can be used to augment existing processes and to prioritize further assessments.

This, and other questions for in-house counsel to consider in evaluating human rights concerns, can be found on our Business and Human Rights Checklist for In-House Counsel, available here.

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