The Un Human Rights Norms for Corporations: The Private Implications of Public International Law
52 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2006
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: Suggested Citation