Human Rights Violations By Multinational Corporations and International Law: Where from Here?
63 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2005
The existing international framework of corporate human rights responsibility is inadequate because it does not prescribe clear human rights standards, is based upon flawed premises, relies excessively on states to enforce obligations, and offers no sanctions for non-compliance. There is, therefore, a need to establish a strong international mechanism as well as reconceptualise the guiding principles and approach of international law vis-a-vis MNCs. I argue that the proposed international mechanism should be based upon a partnership between the UN and the WTO for the promotion of human rights in the new economic order. The partnership, with active support from other international institutions, the media and NGOs, would both prescribe and enforce human rights standards against MNCs. Bringing human rights issues within the framework of the WTO, both at the stage of negotiation and of dispute settlement, would not only help regulate MNCs but would also provide sustainability and people's support to the new economic order.
Further, it is also important that international law abandons its indirect approach to deal with MNCs and recognises them as "secondary limited" subjects, at least as far as human rights are concerned. MNCs should fall directly within the jurisdiction of international regulatory institutions, because the approach of indirect regulation has failed to deliver the desired results.
Keywords: Human Rights Obligations of Multinational Corporations, International Framework of Corporate Human Rights Responsibility, WTO and Human Rights, Status of Multinational Corporations under International Law
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The Accountability of Multinational Corporations for Human Rights Violations: A Critical Analysis of Select Mechanisms and Their Potential to Protect Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Developing Countries