Report Launch: Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: A Rapid Self-Assessment for Business Pilot Project

Report Launch: Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: A Rapid Self-Assessment for Business Pilot Project

On 14 December 2021, the Foundation for International Human Rights Reporting Standards (FIHRRST) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Indonesia held an event to launch the Final Report on the Pilot Project of the Implementation of the Human Rights Due Diligence and COVID-19: Rapid Self-Assessment for Business (C-19 RSAB). The C-19 RSAB is a tool published by UNDP Indonesia that guides businesses seeking to manage the human rights impacts of their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The C-19 RSAB covers the six main areas of occupational health and safety, labor rights, environmental and community effects, safeguarding policy, preventing stigma and discrimination, and corporate policy and management considerations. 

To encourage the implementation of the C-19 RSAB, UNDP has appointed FIHRRST to help companies in Indonesia carry out human rights risk and impact assessments using the C-19 RSAB.  The kick-off meeting on the implementation of the C-19 RSAB was held on 7 October 2021. Following that, FIHRRST has assisted 12 companies in conducting the C-19 RSAB self-assessment. A final report analyzing the results of this pilot project has been compiled by FIHRRST and was officially published after this event.

To start the event, Drg. Kartini Rustandi, Acting Director-General of Public Health for the Ministry of Health Republic of Indonesia, delivered the opening remarks. She highlighted the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the human rights of workers, specifically the right to health. She said that the event aligned with the Ministry of Health’s efforts to achieve a productive society that is free of COVID-19. On behalf of the Ministry of Health, Drg. Rustandi believes that the C-19 RSAB and its implementation will encourage the occupational health and safety of workers.

Mr. Marzuki Darusman, Chair of FIHRRST, started his remarks by thanking the 12 companies participating in the pilot project. He highlighted the significant socio-economic impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health and welfare of workers, which is why companies need to conduct human rights due diligence to identify and mitigate the adverse human rights impacts of business operations. He stated that the results of the C-19 RSAB are encouraging. The 12 participating companies indicated that they had not laid off any workers during the pandemic; they had implemented thorough health protocols to protect workers, consumers, and the public. He hopes that the results of the pilot project will encourage Indonesian companies to carry out comprehensive human rights due diligence according to the UNGPs.

                                                                                MARZUKI DARUSMAN, Chair of FIHRRST

Ms. Sophie Kemkhadze, Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP Indonesia, stated that she is glad that participating companies have taken precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their operations. The companies have prioritized the health and safety of their workers, especially for vulnerable groups. For example, companies have ensured that women are equipped with proper safety equipment.


Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Indonesia

Mr. Margus Solnson, Head of Political, Press and Information, EU Delegation to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, congratulated UNDP and FIHRRST for completing the C-19 RSAB. He informed the audience that the EU and its member States had made significant efforts to implement Mandatory HRDD, noting that, in July, the EU published a guidance tool to help businesses address potential forced labour risks in their operations and supply chains. He said that Mandatory HRDD is especially important for Indonesian companies to comply with emerging global standards and remain competitive in the future.


Head of Political Section, EU Delegation to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam

Ms. Sagita Adesywi, Business and Human Rights Specialist at UNDP Indonesia, gave a “Brief Presentation on the Goals of C19-RSAB Pilot Project Implementation. She explained the background, goals, and benefits of this pilot project. The project seeks to give businesses guidelines on identifying risk and impact from companies’ operations during COVID-19. The pilot project successfully raised awareness of the importance of HRDD amongst participating companies, and it was encouraging to see that companies are planning to conduct a comprehensive HRDD process in the near future.

Subsequently, Mr. Yudha Estiono, Business and Human Rights and Sustainability Specialist at FIHRRST, gave an overview of the implementation of the pilot project. He provided details on the project’s methodology, starting with a kick-off meeting with participating companies, then assisting said companies in carrying out the C-19 RSAB, followed by assessing the project results. In his presentation, Mr. Estiono recommended that companies implement and publish a stand-alone human rights policy that clearly and concisely stipulates to their personnel, business partners and others directly linked to their operations, products or services their expectations concerning human rights and COVID-19.

Furthermore, representatives from five of the participating companies, namely Ibu Elim Sritaba, Chief Sustainability Officer, Asian Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas, Fathimah Zahra Achmad, HR Business Partner & Human Rights Champion L’Oreal Indonesia, Prita Widita, Head of Human Resources Department PT Darma Henwa Tbk, PT Bumi Resources Tbk, and Fenry Wijaya, Senior Adviser Business Continuity & Crisis Management; and Louw Leng Hian, Adviser Sub Division Environment Sustainability Governance, PT Bank Central Asia Tbk, discussed the best practices relating to the implementation of C-19 RSAB. They shared their companies’ approach to dealing with COVID-19 and the measures taken to respect human rights. The discussion was moderated by the Operations Director of FIHRRST, Bahtiar Manurung. The panelists all agreed that HRDD was an important aspect of their business operations, as the process will help identify human rights risks and strengthen the occupational health and safety of its employees. In addition, companies also realized that they must do more to share their efforts and best practices relating to business and human rights, which can increase consumer confidence and bring more value to the companies' stakeholders.