Child Rights in Impact Assessments
The Principles call on businesses to identify and assess any actual or potential adverse child rights impacts they may be involved in, either through their own activities or as a result of business relationships. This is a key element of implementing their corporate responsibility to respect. The assessment process can also identify important opportunities to support children’s rights, enabling the business to go beyond the avoidance of adverse impacts and take additional steps to support governments, local communities, civil society and young people on urgent actions needed to fulfil the rights of children.
A business may use a variety of tools, methodologies and sources to understand its child rights impacts, drawing on internal and independent external expertise. In most scenarios, companies can integrate children’s rights considerations into their broader human rights impact assessment processes as part of their efforts to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In some cases, companies might consider conducting a stand-alone impact assessment.
Because situations are dynamic, assessments of human rights should be taken at regular intervals, as well as prior to any new activity or significant business relationships, major decisions or changes to operations, and in response to actual or anticipated changes in the operating environment. In summary, it is an ongoing and systematic process, drawing on various sources and creating a comprehensive picture of impacts.
The assessment should also be sensitive to the different risks faced by boys and girls, and to the fact that particular groups of children – such as indigenous and ethnic minorities, children with disabilities, rural/urban children, and refugee and displaced children – may be more marginalized and vulnerable to discrimination and violations of their rights. Additionally, situations of conflict and emergencies place children at a heightened risk of violations of their rights.
Children's Rights in Impact Assessments
Authors: UNICEF, Danish Institute for Human Rights
Date: December, 2013
This tool is intended for use by companies to assess their performance in meeting their responsibility to respect children’s rights and identify opportunities to support children’s rights as outlined in the Children’s Rights and Business Principles. The tool offers a number of criteria that companies can use to review critical areas of potential or actual impact on children’s rights, and identify actions for improvement. In addition, the tool offers guidance on specific actions a company can take to integrate respect and support for children’s rights in their business operations and value chain.