Navigating from ‘Trainwreck’ to Being ‘Welcomed’: Negotiation Strategies and Argumentative Patterns in the Development of the UN Framework
Surya Deva and David Bilchitz (eds.) Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?, Cambridge University Press (2013)
28 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2013
Date Written: March 20, 2013
An edited version of this text is published with some revisions as a chapter in Surya Deva and David Bilchitz (eds.) Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?, Cambridge University Press (2013).
The reception of the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework on Business and Human Rights, which was developed during 2005-2008 by the United Nations (UN) Special Representative for the Secretary General (‘SRSG’), John Ruggie, and which was ‘unanimously welcomed’ by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008, stands in stark contrast to the rejection of the ‘Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights’ (UN Norms) that had been developed between 1998 and 2003 under the UN Human Rights Commission. The significance of the UN Framework as a type of international law-in-the-making is underscored by the fact that the Framework formed the foundation for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, an international soft law instrument developed during the SRSG’s second mandate term 2008-2011. The difference in the making of the Framework and that of the UN Norms as well as some other previous efforts under the UN to formulate norms for business in relation to human rights makes the 2005-2008 SRSG process an obvious candidate for analysis to seek to identify what caused such difference. Adopting a socio-legal perspective and combining reflexive law with discourse theory, this chapter analyses the argumentative structure and strategy of the SRSG, business representatives and civil society during the 2005-2008 mandate in order to understand how these elements contributed to an output whose fate has been radically different than its predecessor.
Keywords: international law-making; Business and Human Rights; UN Framework; reflexive law; discourse theory
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