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Observations of UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights call for legal liability of companies domiciled in the UK

Author: Nadia Bernaz, Middlesex University School of Law, on RightsasUsual, Published on: 8 July 2016

"UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights - Groundbreaking concluding observations re. overseas activities of corporate nationals", 30 Jun 2016

On 24 June 2016, the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights published its latest Concluding Observations on the United Kingdom in the context of the review of that country’s 6th periodic report. The Committee strongly criticized the human rights impacts austerity measures have had on “disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups” (para. 18) and a whole section (para 11-13) is devoted to business and human rights."

...[The Committe] expressed concerns “about the lack of a regulatory framework to ensure that (…) companies domiciled under its jurisdiction acting abroad fully respect economic, social and cultural rights.”

[T]his is the first time that a UN treaty body goes that far. First, the Committee is calling for “legal liability” of companies domiciled in the UK. It is not simply asking the country to loosely monitor what these companies are doing when operating abroad. Second, the Committee mentions the liability of parent companies for the activities of their subsidiaries...

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