Born free and equal [subscription required]

Author: Nathan Skinner, StrategicRisk, Published on: 1 February 2010

…In order to avoid unwanted attention, businesses need to be aware of their moral and legal responsibilities…In the pursuit of resources or cheaper production costs, transnational corporations have set up operations in countries with repressive administrations where the rule of law is sometimes weak and human rights receive little attention...In some cases this can lead to claims of harassment, forced labour, arbitrary arrest, torture or worse… A number of initiatives, albeit non-enforceable, bring multinationals to account with respect to their human rights obligations… these prescriptions are, by and large, voluntary. Richard Meeran, a leading human rights lawyer… considers “binding and enforceable international regulations” to be the best way of protecting individual rights… In the absence of properly enforced human rights laws the pace of improvement is set by those companies who recognise… significant costs and damage to corporate reputation may be incurred. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre lists 243 companies with a human rights policy statement…Companies need to engage sustainably with the communities in which they operate, no matter where they are located…[article refers to Afrimex, Amalgamated Metal Corporation (AMC), BHP Billiton, BP, Nike, Rio Tinto, Shell, Thailand Smelting and Refining (THA ISARCO), Trademet, Traxys, Union Carbide]

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Related companies: Afrimex AMC Group BHP Billiton BP Nike Rio Tinto Shell Thailand Smelting and Refining (part of AMC Group) Traxys Union Carbide (part of Dow)