Businesses and human rights : a comparative study of the United States, England and Denmark using third world approaches to international law
Title: Businesses and human rights : a comparative study of the United States, England and Denmark using third world approaches to international law
Author: ANDERSEN, Sara Helene
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
The doctoral dissertation assesses the effectiveness of the current solutions for transnational corporate accountability in regard to human rights focusing on the United States, England, and Denmark from a critical perspective of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). This issue has evolved because corporations increasingly face human rights challenges in a competitive global business environment across different industries, including the textile sector, the extractive industry, and the oil industry to name a few examples. The thesis mapped out the current binding human rights obligations of corporations and compared the efficacy of the three jurisdictions’ use of transnational human rights litigation, multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and national action plans (NAPs). The legal frameworks form a necessary postmodern polycentric governance approach to the issue but are insufficient from a comparative- and TWAIL perspective in preventing or remedying corporate human rights violations because of their incoherent, uncertain and non-binding nature. The current frameworks do not adequately address the reality of certain developing states’ need to attract foreign direct investment by keeping their regulatory systems powerless. TWAIL scholars point out that in particular international financial- and economic institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and WTO undermine developing states’ human rights governance capacity. To address this problem, the thesis assessed the added value of the UN Business and Human Rights Treaty Proposal from a TWAIL perspective and found that it has potential to solve the structural imbalances between companies and host states. However, the thesis proposes new treaty obligations for states, corporations, and international financial-and economic institutions to provide more legal certainty, greater democratic influence and access to justice for Third World human rights-holders than the current options provide. Compared to existing literature, this thesis contributes with a new profound legal and empirical analysis integrating recent case law to assess the efficacy of corporate accountability for human rights using both a Global North and TWAIL perspective. The thesis concludes that the proposed adjustments facilitate consensus on a binding multilateral treaty considering the economic and competitive advantages for both Global North- and South states and businesses as well as the empowerment of the transnational judicial system for Third World communities.
Defence date: 14 June 2018; Examining Board : Professor Giorgio Monti, European University Institute ; Professor Martin Scheinin, European University Institute ; Professor Wouter Vandenhole, University of Antwerp ; Professor Vibe Garf Ulfbeck, University of Copenhagen
Type of Access: embargoedAccess
Preceding version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/56344
Version: Chapter 3 'Judicial Accountability' of the PhD thesis draws upon an earlier version published as chapter 'Transnational corporate liability for gendered harms in the fashion sector from an American and Danish perspective' (2015) in the book 'Human rights and business : direct corporate accountability for human rights'