Human rights and global business: the evolving notion of corporate civil responsibility

Sascha Bachmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global market participation of corporations often leads to a conflict of duties: the duty to its customers and shareholder to “do business” versus the duty to protect the populations affected by these business operations. Today, in a reality where gross human rights violations are not only committed by states and individuals, but increasingly by multinational corporations (MNCs) by aiding and abetting the actual perpetrators in the states where MNCs operate, the global recession has aggravated this human rights situation. This article will, firstly, give an overview of the evolving general notion of civil liability for human rights violations at the vertical and horizontal level by introducing the existing ways and means under international law and the US jurisprudence as a selected domestic jurisprudence. Secondly, the idea of corporate responsibility for human rights violations will be assessed within the above scope. This overview includes a brief reflection on the existing non binding legal guidelines on good corporate practice and corporate social responsibility and the already existing Draft Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights. It will reflect on prior work undertaken by the author in that field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-220
Number of pages28
JournalIndian Yearbook of International Law and Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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