Human Rights Standards and the Responsibility of Transnational Corporations

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What is the nature and scope of corporate responsibility with regard to human rights? Should companies themselves be responsible for human rights violations involving themselves or their subsidiaries? What principles should guide business in countries known to violate human rights? Is self-regulation sufficient, or are corporations best regulated by national or international codes, and on what should these codes be based? These are some of the many questions which this ground-breaking collection of essays seeks to address as it assesses the value of applying human rights standards to transnational corporations. The increasing involvement of corporations in the public domain and the steady reduction of governmental involvement in commercial and social undertakings has created a desperate need to rethink the nature and role of the private corporation and its regulation. This volume, which contains a balanced collection of analyses from all interested sources in the corporate responsibility debate, is the result of a three-day conference during which government officials, corporate executives, NGOs, and representatives of inter-governmental organisations, as well as academic researchers, came together for the first time to discuss the emerging issues. The essays have been arranged under six broad themes: policy issues, regulation, issues of application, matters of doctrine, globalisation and case studies. In addition, each section contains the opinion (not simply a summary of proceedings) of a nominated rapporteur who draws together the strands of each theme, and, where necessary, broadens the analysis to cover important issues which may not have been addressed. At the heart of this volume is the attempt to define an effective framework for transnational corporate responsibility through international human rights standards. It will be of vital interest to corporate legal advisers, human rights practitioners, NGOs, government law offices and academics, as well as to all those concerned with human rights and their place in the modern world.