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Chapter 5 ungc human rights

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Chapter 5 ungc human rights

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Chapter 5 ungc human rights

  1. 1. CHAPTER 5 HUMAN RIGHTSAS ETHICAL IMPERATIVES FOR BUSINESS The UN Global Compact’s Human Rights Principles
  2. 2. Human Rights • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and • Principle 2: Business should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
  3. 3. Human Rights •Human rights remains one of the most challenging areas of corporate citizenship. Why? •In part, this is because human rights have traditionally been the concern of states, and international human rights law has generally been addressed to them only.
  4. 4. Human Rights What are “human rights”? • Those rights that we are said to have simply by virtue of being human. • Our most fundamental freedoms, that is, the freedoms necessary to live a truly human and dignified life. • Universal (apply to all humans), equal (apply to all humans equally), and inalienable (cannot be revoked or given up)
  5. 5. Principle 1: Direct Human Rights Responsibilities for Corporations • Business should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights. • This is not passive, but direct and active. As such corporations who sign the GC pledge to respect human rights on a voluntary basis even if or precisely when domestic laws fail to hold them accountable for it.
  6. 6. Principle 1: Direct Human Rights Responsibilities for Corporations • Human rights responsibilities of corporations are primarily moral responsibilities; corporations have them irrespective of what the law says. • It means to engage in a dialogue on the potential duties and duty-bearers at the outset, rather than limiting them to governments.
  7. 7. Principle 2: Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses • The issue is not merely direct human rights abuses, but indirect human rights abuses as well. Indirect abuse: 1. No malicious is needed for a corporation to become complicit in human rights violations. 2. It is expected that the corporation knows that its actions may contribute to abuse. 3. Its actions must have substantial (not indispensible) effect.
  8. 8. Principle 2: Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses Three types of complicity in human rights abuse: 1. Direct complicity – occurs if a corporation directly and actively contributes to or assists in the violation of human rights committed by a third party.
  9. 9. Principle 2: Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses Three types of complicity in human rights abuse: 2. Beneficial complicity – does not require active contribution on the part of the company, but “merely” that that it benefits from the human rights violations committed by the third party.
  10. 10. Principle 2: Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses Three types of complicity in human rights abuse: 3. Silent complicity – even without benefit the mere silence or inactivity of a corporation in the face of human rights abuses. It’s silence may have a legitimizing, encouraging, or emboldening effect on the party that violates human rights.
  11. 11. Principle 2: Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Abuses A fourth type of complicity in human rights abuse: 4. Obedient complicity – occurs when a business follows laws or regulations of a government to act in ways that support its activities that intentionally and significantly violate people’s human rights.
  12. 12. Question How would you characterize the purchase of coltan from suppliers who force people from their homes and villages to get to the minerals? Is there complicity? If so what kind? 1. Direct 2. Beneficial 3. Silent 4. Obedient
  13. 13. The Center for Constitutional Rights The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non- profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
  14. 14. The Center for Constitutional Rights CCR uses litigation proactively to empower poor communities and communities of color; to guarantee the rights of those with the fewest protections and least access to legal resources; and to train the next generation of civil and human rights attorneys.
  15. 15. The Center for Constitutional Rights In 1993, CCR sued Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadži ́c for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. That 1995 victory was the first time that a private person was held liable for violations of international law in U.S. courts and opened the door to extending accountability for human rights violations to other non- governmental entities.
  16. 16. The Center for Constitutional Rights Building on that victory, CCR sued the Unocal oil corporation for supporting slave labor, murder, rape and forced displacement of thousands of villagers during the construction of a gas pipeline in Burma.
  17. 17. The Center for Constitutional Rights Doe v. Unocal established for the first time that multinational corporations may also be held liable for human rights violations when they are complicit in abuses committed by governments they are working with. This was also the first time that a multinational corporation was charged with complicity in rape as torture.
  18. 18. The Center for Constitutional Rights • Blackwater USA, for firing on Iraqi civilians in Baghdad • Caterpillar, Inc. for selling D9 bulldozers to the Israel Defense Forces, knowing they would be used to destroy homes and injure or kill the inhabitants • Dow Chemical (amicus) for knowingly providing the U.S. government with a poisonous agent (Agent Orange) to be sprayed on civilians in Vietnam • Royal Dutch Petroleum and Shell Petroleum on behalf of murdered leaders and activists in Nigeria suing for human rights abuses against the Ogoni people • Talisman Energy, Inc. (amicus) for conspiring to commit human rights violations, including war crimes, while engaged in oil operations in southern Sudan • Titan Corporation and CACI International for conspiring with U.S. officials to torture and abuse people in U.S. custody in Iraq, including the detainees at Abu Ghraib
  19. 19. What’s Next? • Two questions with regard to the effectiveness of voluntary human rights principles: • First, can the impact of voluntary standards be more than a drop in the bucket relative to the global human rights situation? • Second, can a voluntary code sufficiently level the playing field so that those companies who are serious in their commitment will not be put at a competitive disadvantage relative to the companies that do not embrace the GC, or who do so only to bluewash their brand?
  20. 20. What’s Next? The way forward: • Establishment of a mandatory standard • A binding and enforceable human rights code • More institutionalized discourse on business and human rights is needed • More emphasis on researching and clarifying the concept of complicity in regard to corporate human rights abuse • Move from respecting human rights, to the duty to protect human rights, to remedy human rights abuses
  21. 21. 22 Positive drivers for business Why do [should] businesses want to respect and promote human rights? • It’s ethically the right thing to do • It helps companies to build a positive reputation with communities, investors, shareholders, governments, media. • It improves the business climate • It helps to secure the local ‘social licence to operate’ • It may help to access new business in-country or elsewhere • New and current employees prefer companies that respect human rights From IPIECA Human Rights Training Toolkit for the oil and gas industry
  22. 22. 23 Negative drivers for business (1) What are the potential risks of ignoring human rights issues? • Legal: litigation and ensuing penalties • Reputation: long term damage to company’s image • Political: damage to relation- ships with host and home governments • Operational: increased security risks for personnel, community members and property; disruption to operations; delays on completion of new projects • Financial: impacts from operations disruptions of late project completions; inability to secure funding for new projects; potential share price impacts From IPIECA Human Rights Training Toolkit for the oil and gas industry
  23. 23. 24 Negative drivers for business (2) • Allegations of ‘complicity’ can lead to legal proceedings as well as reputation damage • Example: your company is accused of using security providers that are proved to have infringed human rights, or suppliers that use child or forced labour or infringe upon their employees’ rights From IPIECA Human Rights Training Toolkit for the oil and gas industry

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