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1 Okt 2008

Camilla Wee, International Commission of Jurists, Danish Section

[PDF] Regulating the Human Rights Impact of State-owned Enterprises: Tendencies of Corporate Accountability and State Responsibility

Amidst the increasing focus on human rights and corporate regulation generally, questions have arisen as to the regulation of State-owned enterprises (SOEs). Inadequate corporate regulation coupled with corporate capacity for human rights violations create a dangerous disparity which applies equally to SOEs. The understanding, grounded in the traditional division of the public and private spheres, that corporations are not generally subject to international human rights obligations is increasingly being challenged by new developments. However, in the interim, the SOEs’ special nature arguably engenders the potential to achieve a stronger regulative hold over the acts and omissions of this category of corporate enterprises, than is presently possible in respect of corporate actors generally. This is because SOEs are entities which, although they typically function as commercial actors, straddle the public and private spheres by virtue of their State ownership. The dual nature of SOEs may result in higher expectations being placed on these particular entities to adhere to international human rights standards.