Dec 02, 2016 by members

Groups call on OPIC to strengthen human rights due diligence

This month, 18 human rights and environmental organizations called on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States’ development finance institution, to strengthen its human rights due diligence. OPIC is presently revising its social and environmental policy framework. The review follows investigations by OPIC’s own Office of Accountability which revealed that OPIC’s risk assessments were not adequately capturing human rights risks. The Office of Accountability recommended that OPIC establish formal criteria and processes for human rights due diligence, including procedures for identifying, assessing, and managing human right risks. While OPIC requires its private sector clients to comply with the standards of the International Finance Corporation, the policy submission spearheaded by Accountability Counsel and other Coalition members stressed that human rights due diligence for OPIC clients requires going beyond the IFC Performance Standards to additionally comply with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Moreover, the groups stressed that OPIC must also set forward a human rights due diligence process for OPIC staff, such as the Coalition’s HRDD methodology, with measures to identify human rights-related risks at the country and project level, to ensure that OPIC-financed activities do not cause, contribute to or exacerbate human rights risks, and to remedy violations should they occur. You can read the submission here and a blog by Accountability Counsel here.