Business & Human Rights Journal (Volume 1, Issue 2)

The Business and Human Rights Journal (BHRJ) provides an authoritative platform for scholarly debate on all issues concerning the intersection of business and human rights in an open, critical and interdisciplinary manner. It seeks to advance the academic discussion on business and human rights as well as promote concern for human rights in business practice. Its scope encompasses interface of any type of business enterprise with human rights, environmental rights, labour rights and the collective rights of vulnerable groups. The Journal contains peer-reviewed articles alongside shorter ‘Developments in the Field’ items, which include policy, legal and regulatory developments, as well as case studies and insight pieces.

Editors-in-Chief: 

        Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong 
        Anita Ramasastry, University of Washington School of Law 
        Michael Santoro, Santa Clara University
        Florian Wettstein, University of St Gallen

Volume 1, Issue 2, July 2016

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Article
9 February 2018

The necessity for a business & human rights treaty

Author: David Bilchitz

"The Necessity for a Business and Human Rights Treaty," 2 May 2016

[T]his article [argues] that there are powerful reasons as to why the international community should take forward the resolution of the Human Rights Council in June 2014 and develop a treaty on business and human rights... Its importance lies in providing legal solutions to a number of troubling lacunae, ambiguities and inflexible doctrines within the current framework of international law which have a serious negative impact upon the rights of individuals affected by corporate activities... [This article provides four arguments that] suggest the need to establish a framework treaty with at least the following content: 

1. [C]orporations are recognised as having binding legal obligations in relation to a range of, at least, core internationally recognised human rights;

2. [M]echanisms are established such as a General Comment procedure for the development of our understanding of the application of human rights norms to corporations; 

3. [M]echanisms are created for holding corporations to account where they violate their obligations; and

4. [K]ey legal principles are outlines which modify existing doctrines of corporate and international law that contribute to the impunity of those corporations violating fundamental rights...

[These] four arguments...are connected in seeking to address the existing gaps, ambiguities and inflexible doctrines which cause serious legal problems and thus require an international legal solution. These problems cannot be addressed in any other way than through a treaty on the subject that would establish a common legal base-line against which corporate activity must take place... 

[Furthermore, this article outlines the objections raised against the treaty and attempts] to show how the arguments presented in favour of the treaty contain the resources necessary to respond to these objections... [refers to Union Carbide and Royal Dutch Petroleum]

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Article
6 February 2018

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business - A pioneering country-based initiative

Author: Donna Jean Guest

"Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business - A Pioneering Country-Based Initiative," 11 April 2016 

Founded in 2013 by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) in Yangon has become an important neutral platform in the country’s emerging political economy... It is believed to be the first such organization of its kind - one which is not only dedicated solely to human rights and business based on international standards and best practice, but is also fully operational in one specific country, creating a safe space for dialogue among businesses, civil society, and the government...

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Article
6 February 2018

The World Economic Forum & Nike: Emerging 'shared responsibility' & institutional control models for achieving a socially responsible global supply chain?

Author: Thomas A. Hemphill & George O. White III

"The World Economic Forum & Nike: Emerging ‘Shared Responsibility’ & Institutional Control Models for Achieving a Socially Responsible Global Supply Chain?," 15 April 2016

The Rana Plaza fire...in Bangladesh on 24 April 2013 has galvanized international attention on factory conditions in the global supply chain.

... This note describes two distinct emerging approaches to the socially responsible global supply chain. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently advocated a ‘shared responsibility’ approach that attempts, among other things, to coordinate industry initiatives and costs of compliance with local governments and other international actors. By contrast, Nike has opted for a strategy that emphasizes individual company responsibility and sourcing in countries and factories where it can control and, if necessary, remediate factory conditions.

... Nike has made the determination that it can have the greatest positive social impact on the global supply chain by controlling where and with whom it does business and sources its product... But is this the right approach from a practical and moral approach?...

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