"It Isn’t a State Problem”: The Need for Binding Obligations on Corporations

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

After multiple unsuccessful attempts to adopt a set of norms relating to the human rights responsibilities of transnational corporations, the United Nations succeeded in [2011] with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…Many view the Guiding Principles to be toothless, failing to directly impose obligations upon corporations, and call for binding international obligations on corporate entities… In June 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to draft international legally binding human rights norms for business entities; however, key players in the international arena have already announced they will not cooperate with such efforts. This Note, through an overview of the existing corporate accountability frameworks and a study of Newmont Mining’s Minas Conga project in Peru [joint venture of Buenaventura & Newmont], argues that binding international human rights obligations on corporations are necessary to fully protect human rights. Section V then presents the Minas Conga mining controversy as an emblematic case, analyzing how current frameworks fail to protect victims of corporate human rights abuse and illustrating the need for a binding set of human rights duties for transnational corporations.

Author: Cindy S. Woods, Georgetown University Law Center, Published on:5 March 2015

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