Beyond Voluntarism: Human Rights and the Developing International Legal Obligations of Companies

BEYOND VOLUNTARISM: HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE DEVELOPING INTERNATIONAL LEGAL OBLIGATIONS OF COMPANIES, ICHRP, Geneva, Switzerland, 2002

184 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2010  

ICHRP International Council on Human Rights Policy

International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP)

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

The private sector increasingly accepts that it has social and moral responsibilities. In recent years many companies have introduced codes of conduct and other forms of voluntary initiatives. But do private companies have a legal responsibility to respect human rights? In the last 50 years the world’s governments, particularly through the United Nations, have agreed dozens of standards that define and guarantee basic human rights and freedoms. To what extent might these standards – originally aimed at states – create binding legal obligations on companies?

This report sets out the legal obligations of states when business activity has an impact on human rights, and explores the degree to which companies might have direct obligations under international human rights law.

Keywords: human rights, business, private sector

Suggested Citation

International Council on Human Rights Policy, ICHRP, Beyond Voluntarism: Human Rights and the Developing International Legal Obligations of Companies (2002). BEYOND VOLUNTARISM: HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE DEVELOPING INTERNATIONAL LEGAL OBLIGATIONS OF COMPANIES, ICHRP, Geneva, Switzerland, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1551200

ICHRP International Council on Human Rights Policy (Contact Author)

International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) ( email )

rue Ferdinand-Hodler 17
Geneva, CH-1207
Switzerland

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