Seminario DI-UAM con Jernej Letnar Černič sobre «Business and Human Rights: Recent developments in the United Nations»

octubre 14, 2014

El próximo 30 de octubre de 2014, a las 12 horas en el Seminario VIII de la Facultad de Derecho (o a partir de las 11:30 en la cafetería para tomar un café), tenemos nueva sesión del seminario de Derecho Internacional de la UAM, esta vez de forma conjunta con el Seminario de la Facultad de Derecho, y recibimos al profesor Jernej Letnar Černič, que presentará un trabajo sobre los últimos desarrollos en materia de empresas y derechos humanos en las Naciones Unidas. Transcribo el abstract y les dejo copia del borrador de capítulo introductorio del libro Human Rights and Business: Direct Corporate Accountability for Human Rights (Jernej Letnar Černič and Tara Van Ho, eds, forthcoming 2015), por si quieren participar en la discusión enviando preguntas a través del blog. Como siempre, si desean asistir al seminario, serán bienvenidos.

Business and Human Rights : Recent developments in the United Nations

Jernej Letnar Černič
Assistant Professor
Graduate School of Government and European Studies


The global business environment has changed rapidly in the past decades. Some corporations have faced sharp declines in revenues, whereas others, particularly from Asian and South American region, have taken over positions once held by corporations from France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. Chinese and Indian corporations have been particularly successful in climbing the ladder of the world’s most successful corporations by revenue or profit, whereas some Western corporations have faced sharp decline. For instance, the 2013 Fortune Global 500 list include 89 corporations from China, 62 from Japan, 132 from the United States, 8 from India and 4 Brazil. At the same time, the human rights and business discourse has not advanced as quickly as fragmentations and developments in business environment have.

At the international level, hard law regulations still seem decades away. United Nations initiatives such as the Guiding Principles (UN Doc A/HRC/17/31, 21 March 2011) and the UN Working Group the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises are more than a step in the right direction. However, they alone are not sufficient nor appropriate to tackle the ever-persisting problems of victims of human rights violations by business. In June 2014, the UN Human Rights Council considered the pursuance of a binding international treaty on business and human rights. However, a day later, a counter proposal was also adopted.

This article suggests a holistic approach to evaluate normative frameworks and the impact of corporations on the daily life. Therefore, it does not pass any negative judgment on a voluntary approach. It merely focuses on a normative approach, that is viable in addressing the alleged human rights violations by corporations. Both approaches are sailing towards a stronger national and international regime for governing the activities of corporations and other actors.

Additionally, it appears that arguing for strong and binding standards for corporations and human rights do not undermine the voluntary efforts for human rights and business, but rather strengthens them.

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