The Corporate Responsibility for Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework
AbstractIn this modern society, the traditional concept by which only States and individuals can be held responsible for abuses of human rights is being called into question. There is an increasingly prominent debate emerging around business and human rights. This article contributes to this debate by analyzing, from a South African perspective, the extent to which international and national human rights law is applicable to companies. It will be argued that the greatest challenge for companies willing to carry out their human rights responsibilities is the great complexity of the issues involved. For instance, while the business activities of companies can impact human rights in numerous, often interconnected ways, the scope of company responsibility, both legally and with regard to stakeholders’ expectations, has so far not been defined precisely. This article therefore, seeks to make a contribution in this regard. The rationale being that companies are likely to face increasing expectations, pressures, and incentives for enhanced due diligence on human rights. This is premised on international policy trends and South African political and legal developments.
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