Event information

10 June 2020, 15:00-16:30

Business, the Economy, and Livelihoods in a COVID-19 World

Right On

The COVID-19 pandemic and related national ‘lockdowns’ have placed a huge strain on many businesses as well as national economies.

Some businesses have reacted by doing all they can to protect jobs, health insurance and livelihoods; while others have sought to cut costs with little thought for the impacts on human rights.

At a macro-economic level, many badly-affected states have put in place job protection schemes and have supported businesses, including small and medium enterprise; while economic recovery plans have promised to ‘build back better’ – including by integrating human rights and environmental concerns into planning, and by better recognizing the contribution to society of ‘front line workers.’

What are the human rights responsibilities of businesses during global health crises such as this one? What are governments doing to help, and what more could they do? What are the responsibilities of governments and businesses to provide a safe working environment before employees return (including to schools)? Have some businesses been taking advantage of furlough schemes to cut costs? Are states and businesses ensuring that work environments are safe before asking employees to return to work, or are economic arguments trumping the right to health? Should more governments have followed the lead of Denmark and others by refusing business support payments to companies registered in tax havens? Are governments doing enough to ensure that economic recovery strategies are ‘rights-based’ and will allow states to ‘build back better’ and construct better and more socially-just societies?

To find the answers to these questions and more, we invite you to join us for the 10th Right On webchat!


  • Marc Limon, Executive Director, URG


  • Michael K. Addo, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame and Director, Law Program, London Global Gateway
  • Dorothée Baumann-Pauly, University of Geneva's School of Economics and Management and Director, Geneva Centre for Business and Human Rights
  • Elin Wrzoncki, Department Director for Human Rights and Business, Danish Institute for Human Rights


To join the discussion, you need to register here.


Right On: Business, the Economy, and Livelihoods in a COVID-19 World

In this Right On online event, panelists discussed the human rights responsibilities of businesses during global health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Right On’: The Wednesday Web Chat

‘Right On’ is a new digital initiative – co-organized by the Geneva Academy, the Geneva Human Rights Platform, the Geneva Internet Platform, the DiploFoundation, the Universal Right Group, the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, as well as the Permanent Missions of Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands to the United Nations in Geneva  –  that will keep the human rights dialogue going during these COVID-19 times.

Every Wednesday at 15:00, experts and practitioners will discuss key human rights issues related to the current health crisis.

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