From Talk to Walk: The Emergence of Human Rights Responsibilities for Corporations at International Law

94 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2006

See all articles by David Kinley

David Kinley

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law; Doughty Street Chambers

Junko Tadaki

NYU Law School


The economic power of transnational corporations (TNCs) is undoubted. They are the driving agents of the global economy, exercising dominant control over global trade, investment, and technology transfers. Flowing directly from such positions of economic influence, TNCs also manage to exercise considerable political leverage in both domestic and international spheres. The social power of TNCs is, however, a different matter. For although their social power too is enormous and global, it has been, until recently, far less obvious, little acknowledged, and minimally regulated. TNCs have the ability significantly to affect the nature, form, and extent of social relations. By virtue, specifically, of their economic and political muscle, TNCs are uniquely positioned to affect, positively and negatively, the level of enjoyment of human rights. On these bases there are abundant reasons why the legal regulation of TNCs' activities at all levels of impact is sought, ought to be sought, and is sometimes achieved. This article is concerned with developing the arguments for, and designing the architecture of, such regulation with respect to the human rights obligations of corporations at the level of international law.

Keywords: corporations, human rights, international law

JEL Classification: J50, J70, K22, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Kinley, David and Tadaki, Junko, From Talk to Walk: The Emergence of Human Rights Responsibilities for Corporations at International Law. Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 931-1023, 2004, Available at SSRN:

David Kinley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney - Faculty of Law ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

Doughty Street Chambers ( email )

10 Doughty Street
London WC1N 2PL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://

Junko Tadaki

NYU Law School ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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