Tag Archives: transnational corporations

Should or Must?: Nature of the Obligation of States to Use Trade Instruments for the Advancement of Environmental, Labour, and Other Human Rights (S. J. Powell)

Author

Stephen J. Powell

Keywords

human rights, ethical obligations, legal quality, power, global harm principle, international law, accountability, human rights violations, transnational corporations, U.S. Alien Tort Statute

Abstract

This article examines whether customs, treaties, and historical facts have caused the ethical human rights obligations of economically powerful states to assume a legal quality. The author argues that the legal quality of these obligations may arise from the global harm principle of international law and human rights obligations found in treaties. As a consequence, states may be held accountable for the human rights violations of transnational corporations. Further, the author examines the possibility of pursuing claims under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute for torts committed in violation of international treaties as another avenue for enforcing human rights obligations.

Citation

(2007) Alberta Law Review 45 (2) pp. 443-56

Paper

Should or Must?: Nature of the Obligation of States to Use Trade Instruments for the Advancement of Environmental, Labour, and Other Human Rights

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Environmental Justice, Human Rights, and the Global South (C. G. Gonzalez)

Author(s)

Carmen G. Gonzalez

Keywords

human rights, right to a healthy environment, environmental justice, Third World Approaches to International Law, TWAIL, North-South divide, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, colonialism, development, transnational corporations, Maastricht principles, extraterritoriality

Abstract

From the Ogoni people devastated by oil drilling in Nigeria to the Inuit and other indigenous populations threatened by climate change, communities disparately burdened by environmental degradation are increasingly framing their demands for environmental justice in the language of environmental human rights. Domestic and international tribunals have concluded that failure to protect the environment violates a variety of human rights (including the rights to life, health, food, water, property, and privacy; the collective rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands and resources; and the right to a healthy environment).

Some scholars have questioned the utility of the human rights framework given the diminished governance capacity of many Third World states due to decades of intervention by international financial institutions and restrictions imposed by trade and investment agreements. Others have expressed doubts about the ability of human rights law to adequately articulate and advance the aspirations and resistance strategies of diverse grassroots social justice movements, and have warned about the susceptibility of human rights law and discourse to co-optation by powerful states to advance their own economic and political interests (for example, through “humanitarian intervention” in Third World states).

This article examines the promise and the peril of environmental human rights as a means of challenging environmental injustice within nations as well as the North-South dimension of environmental injustice. Drawing a distinction between human rights discourse as a tool of popular mobilization and human rights law as codified in legal instruments and enforced by international institutions, the article examines some of the limitations of human rights law as an instrument of resistance to environmental injustice and offers several strategies to enhance its emancipatory potential.

Citation

(2015) 13 Santa Clara Journal of International Law 151

Paper

Environmental Justice, Human Rights, and the Global South

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

The Power of Rights: Imposing Human Rights Duties on Transnational Corporations for Environmental Harms (A. Sinden)

Author

Amy Sinden

Keywords

Human Rights, Environmental Wrongs, Transnational Corporations, Civil and Political Rights, Public/Private Divide

Abstract

This essay attempts to construct a normative justification for the imposition of human rights duties on transnational corporations (TNCs) that commit environmental wrongs in the developing world. Under the now near-hegemonic worldview of welfare economics, TNCs are analogised to individuals competing in the marketplace and thus placed squarely on the private side of the public/private divide. If we step outside of the economic worldview, however, and recognise the extent to which the normative justifications for civil and political human rights have traditionally been rooted in a perceived need to counteract the imbalance of power between the individual and the state, it becomes clear that it is frequently far more appropriate to treat TNCs as like states than like individuals. Many TNCs, after all, wield more power and resources than many states. Accordingly, at least where one of two sets of factual circumstances exist, human rights duties should be imposed directly on TNCs for environmental harms: 1) where the state has become so weak and/or corrupt as to be non-functional, or 2) where the TNC has so much power and influence within the domestic government that it essentially controls state decision-making.

Citation

(2007) in The New Corporate Accountability, D. McBarnet et al. (Eds.)

Paper

The Power of Rights: Imposing Human Rights Duties on Transnational Corporations for Environmental Harms

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

NOTE: EARTH RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS: CAN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS AFFECT CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY? (L. A. Mowery)

Author(s)

Lauren A. Mowery

Keywords

earth rights, human rights, international environmental rights, corporate accountability, transnational corporations

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In the last fifty years, transnational corporations (“TNCs”) have dominated the global economy. Today, approximately half of the top economies worldwide belong to such corporations. 1 The gross domestic product (“GDP”) of many TNCs dwarf the GDPs of many small nations around the globe. 2 Some of these smaller, capitalstarved nations have turned to TNCs to improve their economies. 3 These countries flaunt low labor costs and meager environmental standards to attract TNCs from the United States and Western Europe to begin operations on their turf. Regrettably however, the boost to developing nations’ economies comes at a high price. 4

Topping the list of abuses cited by various advocacy groups are the exploitation of child labor and the degradation of the environment. For example, in Ecuador, TNCs that extract oil from the ground have poisoned ecosystems, thereby endangering the welfare of indigenous people who are dependent on those ecosystems. 5 These problems are of growing concern worldwide. As a result, environmental pundits are posing questions regarding the links among human rights violations, enforcement of environmental protection measures and international law. This Note addresses these issues and suggests a framework for the development of environmental protection as an international human right. The increasing relationship between one’s human rights and the state of the environment, gives rise to several theories exploring the redress of environmental damages through a human rights schema. Part I of this Note briefly outlines the history of the human rights movement. Part II describes …

Citation

(2002) 13 Fordham Environmental Law Journal 343.

Paper

Note: Earth Rights, Human Rights: Can International Environmental Human Rights Affect Corporate Accountability?

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Environmental Justice and International Environmental Law (Gonzalez)

Author

Carmen G Gonzalez

Keywords

Environmental justice, sustainable development, equity, ethics, colonialism, post-colonialism, special and differential treatment, common but differentiated responsibility, ecological debt, climate change, human rights, environmental human rights, Aarhus Convention, transnational corporations

Abstract

Environmental justice lies at the heart of many environmental disputes between the global North and the global South as well as grassroots environmental struggles within nations. However, the discourse of international environmental law is often ahistorical and technocratic. It neither educates the North about its inordinate contribution to global environmental problems nor provides an adequate response to the concerns of nations and communities disproportionately burdened by poverty and environmental degradation. This article examines some of the root causes of environmental injustice among and within nations from the colonial period to the present, and discusses several strategies that can be used to integrate environmental justice into the broader corpus of international law so as to promote social and economic justice while protecting the planet’s natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Citation

Shawkat Alam, Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan, Tareq M R Chowdhury, Erika Techera (eds.),ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW (Routledge, 2013); Seattle University School of Law Research Paper No. 12-11.

Publication

Environmental Justice and International Environmental Law

FacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedintumblrmail