Covid-19, business, and human rights: a wake-up call to revisit the "protect, respect and remedy" framework?

Surya Deva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has affected the full range of human rights, though some rights holders have experienced a disproportionate impact. This has triggered debate about the respective obligations and responsibilities of states and business enterprises under international human rights law. Against this backdrop, this article examines critically whether the “protect, respect and remedy” framework operationalised by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is “fit for the purpose” to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I argue that while the UNGPs’ framework provides a good starting point, it is inadequate to bring transformative changes to overcome deep-rooted socio-economic problems exposed by this pandemic. Realising human rights fully would not only require harnessing the potential of states’ tripartite obligations, but also move beyond limiting the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-449
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Community Law Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Business and human rights
  • COVID-19
  • Human Rights
  • Respect and fulfil” framework
  • UN Guiding Principles on Business
  • “Protect


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