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8 Dec 2005

Professor John Ruggie, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights

[DOC] Remarks by John G. Ruggie - Business & Human Rights Seminar - Old Billingsgate, London, December 8, 2005

[includes sections on "Complicity" and "Sphere of Influence"] By far the most serious instances of corporate involvement with human rights abuses take place in countries euphemistically described as “weak governance zones.” Some members of the business community have maintained that compliance with host country laws disposes of their strictly legal obligations in relation to human rights. But as a matter of logic, host country jurisdiction cannot suffice where it does not exist...[T]o date too many governments have responded to the tumultuous evolution of business and human rights over the past decade as though they were spectators if not mere bystanders...The fear expressed by some observers that human rights are becoming “privatized” has one main cause: governance gaps and governance failures...[I]n my view, the strategy of imposing direct obligations on companies under international law for the broad spectrum of human rights does not recommend itself at this time, if our aim is to achieve practical results.

Part of the following timelines

Remarques de John Ruggie au Séminaire Entreprises & Droits de l'homme (Londres, 8 déc 2005)

ExxonMobil lawsuit (re Aceh)

Apartheid reparations lawsuits (re So. Africa)

Unocal lawsuit (re Myanmar)