The Betrayal of Human Rights and the Urgency of Universal Corporate Accountability: Reflections on a Post-Kiobel Lawscape
15 Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 21-24 (2015)
24 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 1, 2015
The search for mandatory international human rights law accountability for transnational corporations has long been one of the most challenging struggles facing human rights advocates and the victims of powerful rights-violating corporate actors alike. Reflecting on the extent to which the US case of Kiobel makes a difference in the light of the ‘closing of the door’ on a much-favoured activist litigation strategy, the authors argue that the neo-liberal structural order within which corporate accountability is sought means that all strategies, no matter how promising, are potentially undermined by corporate and/or ideological capture. The challenge of ending corporate impunity for gross violations of human rights demands the imposition of mandatory forms of direct corporate human rights responsibility, but the nature of the neo-liberal structural context should be understood to mandate continuous critical reflexivity, even if and when mandatory corporate human rights law accountability is established.
Keywords: international human rights law, non-state actors, universalism, corporate accountability, extraterritoriality, global corporate power, Alien Tort Claims Act, Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Co
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