NOTE: UTILIZING EXISTING MECHANISMS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW TO IMPLEMENT HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS: STATES AND MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2011 Arizona Board of Regents
Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law

NOTE: UTILIZING EXISTING MECHANISMS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW TO IMPLEMENT HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS: STATES AND MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS

Fall, 2011

Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law

28 Ariz. J. Int'l & Comp. Law 629

Author

Stephen J. Emedi*

Excerpt

I. INTRODUCTION

As multinational corporations (MNCs) become larger and more influential entities within the international sphere, and particularly in the global economy, 2 they have achieved a growing relevance with regard to human rights. 3 Because MNCs have begun to play larger roles internationally and especially in the forum of human rights, we need to conceive of ways to hold these international actors responsible for human rights violations. Traditionally, states have been viewed as the sole subjects of international law 4 and are often characterized as the entities that primarily enforce and violate human rights. 5 Not clear, however, is how to best promote corporate responsibility for human rights in the face of this traditional framework.

An initial reaction may be to reject the old and seemingly outdated system and instead recognize MNCs as international legal personalities having the same obligations to human rights as states. 6 Such a strategy may be worthwhile, but according to John Ruggie, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, the international system is far from such a shift. 7 With that in mind, a pluralist approach to the issue of corporate responsibility and human rights is more appropriate. Without rejecting the possibility of holding MNCs directly responsible for the human rights violations they commit, we must also take full advantage of the international mechanisms already in place for securing human rights. 8 By recognizing the interconnectedness between ...
 
 
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