Woman with child

Guidance on Human Rights Due Diligence: Immigration Detention, Family Separation

The U.S. “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which includes the practice of family separation, has led to at least 2,300 children being separated from their parents, the indefinite detention of hundreds of families, and uncertainty about when and how those who have been separated will be reunited.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes that the practice of separating children at the border constitutes “arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” including those rights articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Companies with existing or potential contracts with the U.S. Federal Government associated with the enforcement of immigration policies are therefore exposed to the risk of contributing to, or being directly linked to, violations of human rights.

Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights and provide remedy to victims of corporate related abuses regardless of whether the state upholds its duty to protect human rights.

In line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, this Guidance helps:

  • Companies identify, assess and address real and potential human rights impacts they may be contributing to, or directly linked to, through U.S. Federal Government contracts; and
  • Investors engage their portfolio companies to address the human rights impacts associated with immigration detention and family separation.