This chapter presents the overview of the impact which the spreading coronavirus infection has made on people who are particularly vulnerable to the society and international initiatives followed by some suggestions companies are required to consider.
People who are placed in vulnerable status described below are not only directly affected by corporate activities as workers, but also face human rights challenges caused by social structures not necessarily directly linked to corporate activities, both of which are interrelated. In Japan, the increased time spent at home because of school closures and remote work has made the risk of abuse against children, women, and older persons increasing. Additionally, this situation has increased the burden on women in child and nursing care. In Japan, where the declining birthrate and the aging population are progressing and the shortage of persons in the nursing care service sector is an issue, the influence of the restriction of nursing care services on older persons and their families is significant. There are many challenges in terms of reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities. Not only linguistic barriers but also discriminatory behaviors based on specific races have been found.
It is critical to gain a situation on the influence that the current social situation makes on the human rights of each stakeholder from multiple viewpoints to respond to coronavirus effectively. Companies are expected to research specific influence of each stakeholder on the basis of the guidance provided in the previous chapters. Subsequently, companies are required to implement measures including proactive support in addition to existing policies and practices to mitigate the influence.
• The burden on workers who take care of children increasing due to school closures etc.
• The impact on the possibility of violation of child rights, including child abuse due to measures associated with school closures, remote work, and decline of income influencing workers
• Changes in the risk of child labour
(2) Older Persons
• The economic and health risks of older workers
• The burden on workers who take care of older persons increasing due to restriction of nursing care services
(3) Women, Gender and Sexual Minority
• The impact of remote work and income decline on female workers
• The risk of domestic violence increasing due to longer home hours
• Mechanisms reflecting women's voices on measures against coronaviruses, from planning to implementation
• The impacts of sexual minorities
(4) Persons with disabilities
• Reasonable accommodation for workers with disabilities due to changes in living and employment environments including delivery of information adapting to specific needs
• Mechanisms reflecting voices of persons with disabilities on measures against coronaviruses from planning to implementation
• Implementation of providing information in multiple languages
• Prevention of discrimination and bias against a specific race as well as a clear message to the public that this is not allowed
Business and Human Rights Lawyers Network Japan
Emi OMURA, Akiko SATO, and Daisuke TAKAHASHI
C/O Research Center for Sustainable Peace (RCSP),
The University of Tokyo
3-8-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8902, JAPAN