Danish Institute for Human Rights, Belarusian Helsinki Committee, 2018

This Human Rights and Business Country Guide contains information regarding the potential and actual human rights impacts of businesses. The information in this Guide is gathered from publicly available sources, and is intended to help companies respect human rights and contribute to development in their own operations and those of their suppliers and business partners.

The Human Rights and Business Country Guide provides country-specific guidance to help companies respect human rights and contribute to development.

For companies to manage their potential human rights impacts, they must have comprehensive information about the local human rights context in which they operate. The Country Guide provides a systematic overview of the human rights issues that companies should be particularly aware of. For each issue, it provides guidance for companies on how to ensure respect for human rights in their operations or in collaboration with suppliers and other business partners.

The Country Guide is not only a resource, but a process. This Guide was produced through a systematic survey carried out by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. The aim of this Guide is to improve the human rights practices of companies, including through facts-based dialogue regarding the issues presented here.

How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by companies

  • Develop company policies and procedures related to human rights issues in the local environment.
  • Assess and track the potential human rights impacts of your own operations or in suppliers,
  • business partners and investments.
  • Raise awareness among staff, suppliers and other business partners.
  • Engage with workers, potentially affected communities, consumers and other stakeholders whose
  • human rights might be affected by your operations.
  • Engage with civil society organisations, government bodies or international organisations on
  • human rights-related issues.
  • Provide background information for auditors.
  • Establish or collaborate with mechanisms for workers, communities and other whose human rights
  • might be affected by your operations.
  • Contribute to development initiatives that align with human development needs and priorities in
  • the local context.

How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by governments

  • Review and reform public policy and legislation relevant to the human rights impacts of business,
  • including in the areas of labour, environment, land, equal treatment, anti-corruption, taxation,
  • consumer protection or corporate reporting.
  • Ensure respect for human rights in the state’s own business affairs such as state-owned companies,
  • sovereign wealth funds and other investments, public procurement, development assistance,
  • export credit and other activities.
  • Build awareness and capacity on human rights and business issues within relevant areas of public
  • administration.
  • Provide targeted advice to domestic companies.
  • Inform the development of trade policy, trade and investment agreements and trade and
  • investment promotion.
  • Improve effective access to judicial and non-judicial remedies for victims of business-related human
  • rights abuses.
  • Enhance the contribution of the private sector in national and regional development programmes
  • relevant to human rights.

How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by civil society organisations

  • Inform human rights research and monitoring related to business operations.
  • Work with affected workers and communities to define human rights and human development
  • priorities related to the role of business.
  • Provide capacity-building to government, business and civil society stakeholders on human rights
  • and business.
  • Work with local stakeholders to provide recommendations to business and government.
  • Facilitate dialogue and engagement with, including multi-stakeholder forums, with state agencies
  • and businesses.

The Country Guide aims to work with all stakeholders to promote, monitor and expand the activities described above. We request that all stakeholders who use the findings of the Country Guide in their work notify the Country Guide team of their activities and lessons learned. These experiences will be included in the Country Guide website, HRBCountryGuide.org.