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Human Rights Impact Assessment of Business Activities: Key Criteria for Establishing a Meaningful Practice

Author: Nora GÖTZMAN, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, Published on: 23 February 2017

This article considers the emerging practice of human rights impact assessment (HRIA) in the field of business and human rights. As HRIA is relatively new, current approaches vary considerably, indicating that there is a need for the business and human rights community to engage in further dialogue and debate about what good practice HRIA can and should entail. I propose five key criteria for HRIA of business activities: (1) applying international human rights standards; (2) considering the full scope of impacts; (3) adopting a human rights-based process; (4) ensuring accountability; and (5) addressing impacts according to severity. It is suggested that these criteria should form the basis of methodologies used to assess human rights impacts of business activities, with the view to developing HRIA practice that meaningfully contributes to preventing and addressing adverse impacts of business activities on the human rights enjoyment of workers and communities.