Human Rights

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights requires all companies to assess their actual and potential human rights impacts.  Avanzar has been at the forefront of developing processes for identifying, assessing and managing the salient human rights risks of companies in a participatory manner and training corporate personnel on the importance of understanding and mitigating these risks.

 

Assessments

What gets assessed, gets addressed.


Avanzar developed an assessment protocol to identify the actual, potential and perceived impacts of an operation or its business linkages on the human rights of the communities and vulnerable peoples within the sphere of impact. The process has been peer-reviewed by Fund for Peace and UNICEF to ensure compliance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). The protocol’s assessment indicators are based on the main human rights covenants such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc. The protocol also conducts an in-depth review of rights-compatible grievance mechanisms as per the UNGP.

Using this protocol, Avanzar has assessed dozens of mine sites in Latin America and Africa.

Sample projects include:

  • Avanzar and Barrick worked together to develop their corporate Human Rights Assessment Program that complies with the UN Guiding Principles on Business Human Rights. Since 2013, over 20 assessments have been conducted at their high-risk sites. 

  • Human Rights Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation strategies of a mine in Guatemala that distinguished between perceived risks and actual impacts caused by the company directly or indirectly through its contractors. As part of the assessment, Avanzar personnel facilitated an internal workshop to communicate the results and create awareness of how and why human rights matter for a company. 

Training

For two decades, Avanzar has developed interactive human rights training that provides employees with knowledge of how respecting humans rights is important and applicable to their work.

We have developed training for large multinational companies for their onboarding processes, refresher training and personnel at highest risk.

All of our training includes role-plays and common scenarios faced by managers and personnel at operating sites related to topics such as employment (e.g. gender discrimination, child labor); security (e.g. actions by public and private security firms, appropriation of company property); and cultural and economic rights (e.g. stakeholder consultation, land use).

Sample projects include:

  • Development of content for a 45-minute human rights online training program with monitoring and evaluation components.

  • Design and development of a number of training manuals incorporating key international human rights standards. Training methods include common scenarios faced by managers and personnel at operating sites, including: Employment (forced labor, child labor, gender discrimination, etc); Security (actions by public security forces, evacuation of ex-pats, appropriation of company property, etc)

Rights-Compatible Grievance Mechanisms

The United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) state that "Where business enterprises identify that they have caused or contributed to adverse impacts, they should provide for or cooperate in their remediation through legitimate processes,” (Guiding Principle 22). 


Avanzar has worked with a number of extractive companies to assist them in bringing their sites into compliance with the IFC social performance standards, the UNGP, as well as Harvard University’s "Rights-Compatible Grievance Mechanisms: A guidance tool for companies and their stakeholders." In other words, mechanisms that are: legitimate in the eyes of stakeholders, accessible to stakeholders, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights compatible, and promote continuous learning and improvement. Avanzar has also developed and facilitated various training workshops on stakeholder engagement and grievance procedures for site-based staff.

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