When Human Rights ‘Responsibilities’ become ‘Duties’: The Extra-Territorial Obligations of States that Bind Corporations
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
HUMAN RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS OF BUSINESS: BEYOND THE CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY TO RESPECT? D. Bilchitz & S. Deva, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2013
Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 12/71
This essay addresses two critical, intersecting, questions regarding the legal status of responsibility for corporate abuses of human rights standards as portrayed in the UN’s Business and Human Rights Framework and Guiding Principles. One relates to the obligations of states to regulate corporations in this respect, and the other to the extent that they can and must do so extra-territorially. By reconstructing the nature of the relationship between the first and the second pillar of the UN Framework, combined with a critique of the relationship between the authority under general international law for a state to regulate corporate behavior extra-territorially (the ‘permissive question’), and the obligation for it to do so under international human rights laws (the ‘prescriptive question’) the authors reach the following conclusion. That in order for a state to comply fully with its human rights obligations under international law, it must ensure the protection of human rights to those who fall within its jurisdiction, whether inside or outside its territorial boundaries, and against threats to their rights, whether from state or non-state actors over which the state has jurisdiction.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: corporations, international human rights law, extra-territorial jurisdiction, UN business and human rights framework
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 20, 2012 ; Last revised: February 14, 2013
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