Putting Business and Human Rights in Context

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Anthony Ewing reviews Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts: New Expectations and Paradigms (American Bar Association, 2014) for Lawyers for Better Business, an online publication and network in the United Kingdom.

Three years on from the unanimous endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as stakeholders struggle to understand what the “corporate responsibility to respect human rights” means in practice and what states can do to protect against human rights abuse caused by companies, key questions framing the business and human rights discussion include:

  • How international law applies to state regulation of corporate conduct and to corporate responsibilities for human rights impacts.
  • Whether mandatory or voluntary measures are most likely to prevent and address adverse human rights impacts caused by, or connected to, business operations.
  • Which litigation and regulation strategies offer the best prospect of justice for victims of human rights abuse.

Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts is a timely contribution from the American Bar Association that illuminates these issues, surveys the current legal landscape surrounding business and human rights, and offers indications of where the field may be headed.

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