Mänskliga rättigheter men omöjliga skyldigheter? En studie av den internationella regleringen av företags skyldighet att respektera mänskliga rättigheter
Sammanfattning: Transnational corporations are today in general not considered to be obligated under international law to respect human rights. In states where the protection of human rights through national law is weak corporations thus may violate human rights without risking becoming subjects to legal santioncs. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether or not the conclusion of a treaty that obligates transnational corporations directly under international law to respect human rights would be, on one hand, desirable and, on the other hand, legally and practically possible. For this purpose, the study investigates the content, purpose and effect of and criticism against the UNGPs – the only instrument adopted by the UN that regulates business and human rights. For the same purpose the study furtheron examines a number of issues discussed within the legal doctrine regarding the idea of obligating transnational corporations under international law to respect human rights. In the study it is established that the UNGPs have gained support among states and corporations but that the adoption of the instrument have not resulted in any major change in corporate behaviour. Moreover, the UNGPs have among many things been criticized for being too vaguely formulated and for claiming too little from corporations. Whether a treaty binding corporations to respect human rights is desireable or not is a subjective question. The answer according to the author of the study is, however, yes. The issues addressed within the essay concerning the idea of a corporate-binding treaty are the corporate influence on states’ legal and political decision-making; the difficulties in creating corporate compliance; the risk of impeding national progress in strengthening the protection of human rights; the question of where to draw the line between corporate and state obligations regarding human rights and the question of whether enough international consensus for a treaty to be concluded is ever to be reached. The author concludes that, considering the addressed difficulties and the state lack of belief in the possibility of concluding a treaty and will to negotiate, although there is no legal hindrance to the conclusion of a corporation-binding treaty such a conclusion today in practice does seem impossible.
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