Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights: A Critical Analysis of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Hanse Law Review (HanseLR), Vol. 3, No. 1, September 2008

31 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2008 Last revised: 6 May 2010

See all articles by Jernej Letnar Cernic

Jernej Letnar Cernic

Graduate School of Government and European Studies

Date Written: December 17, 2008

Abstract

When an individual has suffered a violation of her human rights by or involving corporations, she should have recourse to a court or quasi-judicial mechanism to enforce responsibility of perpetrator. It appears that the victims of human rights violations by or involving corporations have presently a limited access to a court either in their home country or in the country where the corporation in question is registered or, indeed, in the international arena. The present article attempts to clarify whether existing implementation procedures under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are effective and whether they could serve as a point of departure for enforcing human rights obligations of corporations. The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are the only international corporate responsibility instrument that has been formally adopted by states. In this way, the OECD Member States are obliged to establish National Contact Points, which have primary responsibility to ensure the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises at the national level. In this way, the present article argues national implementation of the OECD Guidelines remains a challenge in a number of countries. To this end, it examines a growing number of jurisprudence under the National Contact Points relates to human rights and it investigates challenges faced by a number of states regarding the implementation of the OECD Guidelines. Finally, a convincing argument can be made that these problems are all surmountable by strengthening the existing implementation system of the National Contact Points. This article lends its support to the growing trends movement arguing for more effective regulation of corporations relating to human rights at national and international levels.

Keywords: human rights law, human rights and business, corporate responsibility for human rights, human rights obligations of corporations, OECD Guidelines for multinational corporations, OECD National Contact Points, corporate social responsibility

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Letnar Cernic, Jernej, Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights: A Critical Analysis of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (December 17, 2008). Hanse Law Review (HanseLR), Vol. 3, No. 1, September 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1317263

Jernej Letnar Cernic (Contact Author)

Graduate School of Government and European Studies ( email )

Predoslje 39
Kranj, 4000
Slovenia

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