International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Analyzing Corporate and Government Policies on Human Rights

On Wednesday, The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre introduced a new interactive feature on their website revealing how various companies and governments are addressing the effects of business on human rights. Founded in 2002, this UK based NGO works specifically to protect and advance human rights in regards to business practices worldwide. This tool allows for people to explore data collected from a survey of over 101 governments and 180 companies from around the world that were contacted and questioned on their human rights policies and methods of implementation. The results are categorized and detailed under the “Company Action Platform” and “Government Action Platform”, which illustrate the different ways in which each government or corporation surveyed is addressing or ignoring human rights in business. Only 40% of those governments contacted responded to the survey, while the company survey rendered a 52% response rate. The key findings from the study concluded that overall only four governments had completed instituting a National Action Plan for addressing human rights abuses in business, ten claimed to be in the process, and more than a dozen governments stated their commitment to considering how to best establish a National Action Plan. The findings from the company survey found that 34 of the world’s largest 50 companies have publicly instituted human rights policies into their corporate structure, likely due to the combined efforts of the 2011 passage of the UN Guiding Principles on Business, as well as the overall increase in public knowledge of corporate human rights abuses and the consumer movement to protest such companies. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre came to the overall conclusion that there needs to a greater cooperation between these governments and global companies to initiate policies aimed at protecting human rights, along with greater participation on behalf of the larger international community to hold these businesses and organizations accountable for their actions either in recognizing or ignoring basic human rights.

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