New book: "Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?"

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Article
15 January 2014

[PDF] Response of Surya Deva and David Bilchitz to Comments of Professor John Ruggie on “Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?”

Author: Surya Deva (City Univ. of Hong Kong), David Bilchitz (Univ. of Johannesburg)

We read with interest the comments of Prof John Ruggie, the former Special Representative of the Secretary General on Business and Human Rights (SRSG), on our new co-edited book entitled, Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?, which were posted on the website of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. Prof Ruggie recognises that the “contributing authors address both the strengths and weaknesses of the GPs”. He, however, has “real problems” with the Introduction (which was jointly written by us) and our individual chapters in the book. He thus saw it necessary to respond to our work and, in the spirit of robust discussion and debate, we wish to respond and engage with some of the key points made by Prof Ruggie. Clearly, this document cannot be exhaustive or comprehensive – it simply outlines, in brief, our lines of response.

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Article
17 December 2013

[PDF] [Comments on "Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect"]

Author: John Ruggie, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business & Human Rights

I am grateful to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre for the opportunity to comment on the new book edited by Surya Deva and David Bilchitz...The contributing authors address both strengths and weaknesses of the GPs. In doing so, they enrich the debate and help inform the evolving agenda...But I confess to having real problems with the co-editors’ own chapters...That we disagree on foundational issues is perfectly fine; dialogue between different paradigms can be productive. But so keen are Deva and Bilchitz to undermine the normative legitimacy of the Guiding Principles and assert the primacy of their preferred approach that, in making their case, they also resort to ad hominem remarks and insinuations, and they misrepresent key facts...

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Article
1 December 2013

At the 2nd U.N. Forum on Business and Human Rights--Reflections on Bilchitz and Deva (eds) "Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?"

Author: Larry Catá Backer, Penn State Univ., on Law at the End of the Day Blog

This post includes my review of The Human Rights Obligations of Business from which I will draw the comments I will make at that book launch...The contributions in Human Rights Obligations of Business...query whether in the rush to embrace the GP, they have failed to receive the detailed and systematic critical evaluation they might need...[They also] reflect the deep and unrelenting suspicion of non-law based governance systems...[T]his rejection of the legitimacy of social systems as characterized by autonomous governance characteristics makes effective critique more difficult...[However,] Bilchitz and Deva...identify well those areas that civil society, especially, believe that a clearer stance is necessary, even going forward on the basis of the GP...[They] construct a powerful critique of the foundational premises and the operationalization of the Protect-Respect-Remedy project through the GP. Their critique reminds us that the basic normative assumptions that separate the GP from the U.N. Norms remain both unresolved and continue to deeply divide the "human rights" communities.

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Article
1 November 2013

Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?

Author: Surya Deva (City Univ. of Hong Kong), David Bilchitz (Univ. of Johannesburg), eds.

In recent years, the UN Human Rights Council has approved the 'Respect, Protect, and Remedy' Framework and endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These developments have been welcomed widely, but do they adequately address the challenges concerning the human rights obligations of business? This volume of essays engages critically with these important developments. The chapters revolve around four key issues: the process and methodology adopted in arriving at these documents; the source and justification of corporate human rights obligations; the nature and extent of such obligations; and the implementation and enforcement thereof. In addition to highlighting several critical deficits in these documents, the contributing authors also outline a vision for the twenty-first century in which companies have obligations to society that go beyond the responsibility to respect human rights.

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