Business and Human Rights – Time to Hold Companies to Account

Business and Human Rights – Time to Hold Companies to Account International Criminal Law Review 8 (2008) 447–462 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/157181208X308781 www.brill.nl/icla International Criminal Law Review Business and Human Rights – Time to Hold Companies to Account Daniel Leader 1 Barrister 36 Bedford Row, London Abstract It is not widely appreciated that the recent six year confl ict in the Democratic Republic of Congo was the deadliest war since World War II. An estimated 3.8 million people, mostly civilians, lost their lives as a result of the confl ict. Th e West must accept a large degree of responsibility for this tragedy as the war was fuelled to a great extent by western multinationals. Th ese companies either directly or indirectly purchased or exploited the natural resources under the control of the various armed groups. Unscrupulous corporations can engage in this behaviour with impunity in weak governance zones. Human Rights NGOs have tried to hold some of these companies to account by fi ling complaints in the UK using the “soft law” mechanism of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. However, the British Government displayed a breathtaking unwillingness to hold companies to account. It is increasingly clear to both responsible business and the human http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Criminal Law Review Brill

Business and Human Rights – Time to Hold Companies to Account

International Criminal Law Review, Volume 8 (3): 447 – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1567-536X
eISSN
1571-8123
D.O.I.
10.1163/157181208X308781
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

International Criminal Law Review 8 (2008) 447–462 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI 10.1163/157181208X308781 www.brill.nl/icla International Criminal Law Review Business and Human Rights – Time to Hold Companies to Account Daniel Leader 1 Barrister 36 Bedford Row, London Abstract It is not widely appreciated that the recent six year confl ict in the Democratic Republic of Congo was the deadliest war since World War II. An estimated 3.8 million people, mostly civilians, lost their lives as a result of the confl ict. Th e West must accept a large degree of responsibility for this tragedy as the war was fuelled to a great extent by western multinationals. Th ese companies either directly or indirectly purchased or exploited the natural resources under the control of the various armed groups. Unscrupulous corporations can engage in this behaviour with impunity in weak governance zones. Human Rights NGOs have tried to hold some of these companies to account by fi ling complaints in the UK using the “soft law” mechanism of the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises. However, the British Government displayed a breathtaking unwillingness to hold companies to account. It is increasingly clear to both responsible business and the human

Journal

International Criminal Law ReviewBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: BUSINESS; CONFLICT ZONES; DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO; HUMAN RIGHTS

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