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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: A CONCEPT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RESPONSIBILITY OF BUSINESS ENTITIES

Author: Monalisa Chandra, PhD Scholar from NLUJA Assam


This context has given an exploratory concept in terms a trade-related, market-friendly pattern of human rights in comparison to the pattern with general Human rights that has been placed in the general Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) [1]. It gives all attention on the act of the UDHR in relation with the body ruling business ethics and specifically looks to offer certain norms on the responsibilities of transnational business companies and other Business undertakings. These norms are conceptualized into basic ideas: the intertextuality of the norms; the network idea of trade and business acts and behaviour; and the categories of business rights and obligation. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, particularly the Sub-Commission provides the important sites of critique and renewal. The transmitted to Human Rights Commission norms are open to further consideration and receivable of feedback by April 2005 and have been proposed in the interest of business and trade ,along with Human Rights NGOs and such social activism have already began to deploy such norms owing to human rights strategy. There is a form of zero tolerance in business practices and conduct enshrined so as the human rights violations are avoided. The main single minded approach of such developments of norms is only for benefit of future of globalization.


There are basically two types of international laws i.e. the hard law and the soft law which are referred as human rights texts since there cannot be a lone derivative for the new norms. There lies the problem of legal legitimacy along with the communal legitimating human rights responsibility bearers. If there a too little spell of prior texts which can weaken the instruments of human rights then such recourse makes itself defeating. Since various norms have various senders and receivers those promote and protect the human rights. The greater the reference of hard and soft laws the greater is the crises of action based understanding of human rights and none can reality check these remains of conductive human rights. No reflexive student can remain innocent of such patterns of normative hybridism. Not only the bodies of human rights and social moments but also the activists can measure justice. The old references are accent to new norms also the encyclopaedic references do complicate the understanding of these new forms of ‘illiteracy of the literate’. The greater the political economy in self-preferentiality, the greater production of contemporary human rights [2].


Every business ethic should remain subjected to the disciplinary regimes of human rights whether it is based on civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as adopted by the United Nation systems. The Business Enterprises are defined by Article 21, that includes Business entity both domestic and international sphere including transnational corporation, contractors, suppliers, partnership or legal firms. All norms shall be applied to these business enterprises as per their matter of practice thereby forbidding the violation of human rights. These norms are not only applicable to larger business but also to local business that include bakeries, dry cleaners etc


Article 1, state about the primary state responsibility where all the macro and micro activities of any business conduct are extended as a state responsibility. Their main aim is to ‘promote, secure, respect and ensure protection of human rights as recognized in nation as well as international specifically to the business enterprises and transnational corporate and these organisation need to fulfil these obligations in respect to activity and influence since State is unaware of such activities beforehand and these form of responsibilities are no where specified. The states have a non negotiable duty to translate these norms into legislations.


The Business Entities also must inform themselves about the impact of their activities on the firstly the human rights violation and the human abuses. Human abuse have a direct impact on the victim like slave-like labour practice, unconscious forms of child labour, sexual harassment at work place, rape, etc. The human rights hostile business includes the attempts to harass the NGOs, Capture and control of human rights markets etc.


Example: A well known MNC that has its primary work location in India and has extended its branches to some other parts of the countries. It has around more than 20,000 employees working out of which only 4000 are female employees. There are also cases of “sexual harassment at workplace” thereby violation of human rights of female employees at workplace. The same is the reason for the low number of female employees in such companies that is yet another violation as seen by the NGOs that might try to emphasize these important issues to the state with the help of activists and try to stop such violation with those obligatory norms those have been laid down. The state shall discuss with all the five member committee of the activists of NGOs and will come to common norms and deploy zero tolerance in such acts. Try to either remove the practices or reform the ideologies with the help of state.


There are various other examples of such activism like for Bhopal Gas tragedy , there was a violation of norms by the UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION, the transnational organization that was involved in violating had to face the effective criticism so as the entity was forced to be closed for the greater benefit of the people living around. But still the compensations remain pending to all affected people on grounds of violation of business conduct and can only be achieved with the help of the state.


So it is important for these business entities to follow the obligations keeping in mind the human rights which may be articulated in norms or as mandatory duties. Article 3 encodes the responsibilities of business entities so as it forbids them to benefit themselves from war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, torture, forced labour etc. other violations of international laws. These codes will be beneficial for the expansion of social and economical opportunities of particularly the developing countries.

Article 10 is the final and the third obligatory articulation that promotes ‘transparency, accountability and prohibition of corruption.


IMPORTANT EXTRACTS

  • “Contestation is inevitable, as are future compromises. What makes the Norms, and the Commentary, precious is the now-proclaimed zero tolerance for egregious forms of business conduct and practices that transgress human rights and constantly reproduce human rights violations. This single-minded pursuit of a human rights-oriented future for globalisation and human development is perhaps the only pertinent way ahead” [3].

  • “Exuberant intertextuality of norms thus partly reflects the endless ‘turf’ wars within the United Nations system. Besides the problem of internal (within United Nations) legitimacy, the optimality question also relates to legitimating with the communities of the eventual bearers of human rights responsibilities”[4].

  • The human rights responsibility of business entities may be summated in terms of duties of non-benefit from human rights violations; duties of influence; and duties of implementation. State responsibility is unqualified; transnational corporations and other business enterprises bear these responsibilities only ‘within their respective spheres of activity and influence’ [5].


References

Baxi, Upendra. “HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION: THE PROMISE OF THE THIRD MILLENNIUM?,” n.d., 35.

OHCHR. “Declaration on the Right to Development.” Accessed April 19, 2022. <https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/declaration-right-development>.

“Future of Human Rights - Oxford Scholarship.” Accessed April 19, 2022. https://oxford.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195690439.001.0001/acprof-9780195690439.

Twining, William, ed. Human Rights: Southern Voices: Francis Deng, Abdullahi An-Na’im, Yash Ghai and Upendra Baxi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511808364.