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Shortening the Long Arm of the Law [USA]

Author: [opinion] John B. Bellinger III, former US State Dept. legal advisor, New York Times, Published on: 7 October 2010

For more than a decade, dozens of multinational corporations have been sued in federal courts in the United States for alleged human rights violations under the...Alien Tort Statute. Now these suits may be over. In August...[the New York-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals] ruled that corporations may not be held liable for violations of international law...If the Supreme Court upholds the decision, it will remove an effective weapon for human rights groups to force changes in the behavior of multinational corporations...[and] the impact of their activities on local populations and the environment...Even...[without] the threat of lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute, [corporations] should ensure that their international operations...comport with accepted human rights principles. [refers to Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Talisman Energy, Rio Tinto, Coca Cola, Pfizer, Caterpillar, Yahoo]

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Related companies: Caterpillar Chevron Coca-Cola ExxonMobil Pfizer Rio Tinto Shell Talisman (part of Repsol) Yahoo! (part of Verizon)