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Stronger UN draft on human rights abuses needed

Author: Widney Brown, Senior Director for International Law and Policy, Amnesty International, Published on: 20 January 2011

Sir, John Ruggie’s letter (January 19) in response to Hugh Williamson’s article “Amnesty criticises UN framework for multinationals” (January 17) is surprising on several counts...Let’s be frank – the real opposition to effective guiding principles does not come from Amnesty International but from business interests. The draft guiding principles enjoy broad support from business, precisely because they require little meaningful action by business. Prof Ruggie has acknowledged that governments often fail to regulate companies effectively, and that companies working in many countries evade accountability and proper sanctions when they commit human rights abuses. The fundamental challenge was how to address these problems. His draft guiding principles fail to meet this challenge. Amnesty International believes they must be strengthened. We have offered constructive advice, based on years of investigative experience, to help the process. We will continue to do so.

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