Europa Law Publishing

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Human Rights Law and Business

Human Rights Law and Business

Corporate responsibity for fundamental human rights

€ 60,-
  • Author(s):
  • Cernic, J L
  • Year:
  • 2010
  • Language:
  • english
  • Size:
  • 16x24 cm
  • Pages:
  • 326
  • ISBN:
  • 9789089520814
  • Edition:
  • Paperback
  • Print/edition:
  • First


Over recent decades, globalisation has stirred up a number of positive and negative developments in national and international environments. An important feature of globalisation is the rise of the economic, social, cultural and political power of corporations. While corporate activities may positively contribute to the livelihoods of individuals, communities and societies, a number of allegations have been made that corporations have been involved in systematically violating human rights. In contrast, only a limited of number of claims have been successfully brought against corporations or their directors and employees. As there is an urgent need for practical and victim-oriented solutions in the modern world in the area of human rights and business, this study argues that corporations have normative obligations in relation to fundamental human rights, around which there possibly appears to exist a value consensus across different cultures and societies around the world. However, the cacophony of international documents so far agreed currently regulate the conduct of corporations in international law only indirectly. This study therefore argues that the normative thrust of corporate human rights obligations derives primarily from national legal orders and only secondarily from the international level, whereas both draw their foundations from an international value system. Moreover, corporate human rights obligations may also derive from corporate unilateral commitments. The study argues that corporations should be held accountable for violations of human rights law.The study proposes a normative framework of corporate obligations to respect, protect and fulfil fundamental human rights. It employs a holistic approach to corporate responsibility which identifies a three-fold responsibility for rights violations: corporate, individual and state responsibility. It argues for concurrence between corporate, individual and state responsibility where possible. Such an approach also maintains a victim-oriented perspective. Equally important to identifying corporate obligations is the question of how one can respond to corporate human rights violations. As international mechanisms are often ineffective and sometimes inexistent, the provision of effective remedies for victims of corporate human rights violations, the book argues, rests within national normative frameworks. The investigation of the current frameworks exposes the stark reality of a need for more clarity with respect to the obligations and responsibilities of corporations. The book therefore makes thirteen recommendations on improvements to the normative framework for corporate responsibility for fundamental human rights.

About the author
Jernej Letnar Černič is a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute. He completed his doctorate in 2009 at the School of Law, University of Aberdeen. Jernej has worked in the European Ombudsman’s Office, the Superior Court of the Republic of Slovenia, the Law Institute in Ljubljana, the International Criminal Court and the University of Aberdeen. His research interests are in human rights law, business and human rights, investment law, international criminal law, transitional justice and criminal law. Jernej is a member of the International Human Rights Committee of the International Law Association.