Why and how MNCs could/should be made accountable/responsible for human rights violations?
Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . 3
2. Defining the Multinational Corporation . . . 4
3. Multinational Corporations in the global scene . . 5
4. Multinational corporations and its responsibility
in humanrights violations . . 6
5. Towards a Code of Conduct for MNCs . . . 9
6. Conclusion . . . . . . . 11
The traditional rule in international law of human rights is constituted by the obligation of States to account for the human rights violations committed against individuals under their jurisdiction, whether they are enshrined in domesticlaw or international law. Thus, the active subject of the relationship is the human person and the passive subject is the State.
But it's remarkable that any subject of law can damage or violate rights of others, notwithstanding which, all violations not committed by the State against a person are outside of international protection of rights humans. Therefore, this traditional rule has begun toevolve: the latest trends in the field have begun to address the possibility of requiring compliance of the international standards on human rights to non-State subjects, for example, multinational corporations and international agencies whose charters do not mention human rights among the objectives to be achieved by them. They have become of increasing interest.
We must not lose sight in ouranalysis that many multinationals have more economic power than many independent States, and that, precisely, those are permanently seeking new markets in which to sell their products and build new factories where manufacture these products, using for it the cheap labor that is possible to find in underdeveloped countries, and using the lack of control and corruption that plagues theiradministrations. This is undoubtedly one of the effects of so-called "globalization."
Thus, directly or indirectly, MNCs have an enormous responsibility in the deterioration of the environment and growth of systematic human rights violations. Moreover, the mechanisms for attributing human rights responsibilities to non-state actors are still very much in the making.
2. Defining the MultinationalCorporation
We must give a definition of MNC in order to understand better the problem of their responsibilities.
There are different labels in use for describing the entity that is here denoted ”Multinational Corporation”. The vocabulary preferred by the UN has been ”transnational”, whereas ”multinational” is used by the business community and academics.”Corporation” on its part is often substituted with ”business”, ”enterprise”, or “company”.
However, a company falls within all of these when it refers to “an economic entity or a group of economic entities operating in two or more countries, whatever the legal framework, the country of origin or the country or countries of activity, whether its activity is considered individually or collectively.Multinational/transnational corporations are legal persons in private law with multiple territorial implantations but with a single center for strategic decision making”. “They can operate through a parent corporation with subsidiaries; can set up groups within a single economic sector, conglomerates, or alliances having diverse activities; can consolidate through mergers or acquisitions or can createfinancial holding companies. These holding companies possess only financial capital invested in stock shares through which they control companies or groups of companies. In all cases (parent company with subsidiaries, groups, conglomerates, alliances and holding company), the decision-making process for the most important matters is centralized. These corporations can establish domicile in one or...