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
Date Written: 2002
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
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