The Un Human Rights Norms for Corporations: The Private Implications of Public International Law

52 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2006

See all articles by David Kinley

David Kinley

The University of Sydney Law School

Rachel Chambers

University of Connecticut

Abstract

Though many years in the making, the UN Human Rights Norms for Corporations only registered on the radars of most states, corporations and civil society organizations in August 2003 when they began to move up the ladder of the UN's policy-making processes. Since then, they have been subject to intense, and sometimes intemperate, debate, scrutiny and controversy. A particular legal feature of the deliberations has been the focus on the closely related questions of the legal standing of the Norms in their present format (namely, an imperfect draft, and therefore of no direct legal force), and what they might become (possibly - though not likely soon - a treaty that speaks to corporations but binds states). A potent mix of distrust and suspicion, vested interests, politics and economics has given rise to a great deal of grand-standing and cant concerning these questions and how they might be answered. In this article, the authors explore the history of the Norms and the form and content of the debate that surrounds them, in their attempt to disentangle the legal from the rest. That said, the article also focuses on the real politick of the circumstances in which the Norms now find themselves and it seeks to offer some guidance as to where the Norms - or at least their substance, if not their form - might go from here.

Keywords: human rights, corporations, international law

JEL Classification: K22, K31, K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Kinley, David and Chambers, Rachel, The Un Human Rights Norms for Corporations: The Private Implications of Public International Law. Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/06; Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 2, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944153

David Kinley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

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

Rachel Chambers

University of Connecticut ( email )

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