Transnational Business and Human Rights

This seminar explores a variety of dimensions of the multifaceted intersection of business and human rights. While some still consider that the social responsibility of business is merely to increase its profits, the idea that business has human rights responsibilities - moral and/or legal - has been steadily gaining acceptance. Growing awareness of the impacts that business can have on human rights - positive and negative – as well as of the increasing power of transnational corporations vis-à-vis the States in which they operate has raised the volume on calls for businesses to ensure that, at a minimum, human rights are respected by business. Well-known human rights organizations, like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have launched human rights and business campaigns and monitor and report on human rights abuses by businesses. Consultancies and law firm practices have started to appear advising business how to improve their human rights performance. A growing number of multinational corporations have introduced human rights policies and training programmes, have begun reporting on their human right performance and have hired experts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and human rights. Some companies even find themselves being sued for human rights violations. Finally, major international organizations, such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and the OECD, have issued principles and standards outlining the social responsibilities of businesses. In particular, a six year process undertaken by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Business and Human Rights culminated in June 2011 in the endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council of a set of Guiding Principles on business and human rights. These developments beg questions - which will be explored in the seminar - such as why human rights are or should be a business issue; if so, to what extent; what can a company do to implement them; and what remedies might be available?
Credits: 2

Type: SEM

Does this course satisfy the writing requirement? Yes

Is this course open to LL.M. students? Yes

Do the credits of this course count toward the specialized program credits that students need for the International Business & Trade Law LL.M. Program? Yes

Do the credits of this course count toward the specialized program credits that students need for the International Law & Justice LL.M. Program? Yes