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Article

The necessity for a business & human rights treaty

"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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