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Human rights and corporate law

Corporations in today’s era are having responsibilities towards human rights contravention.
There have been number of instances where corporation involved in human rights
contravention. Conventionally International law was all about states, but now it is also
concerned with the non state actor, corporation, armed conflicts, individual, etc. One of the
development in international law is 2011 the UN human rights council adopted the UN Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights. It also states that the corporation has responsibility
towards human rights. There are also various development at regional, national, and
international level. For example UK instigates modern slavery act in 2015, which states that
any company having turnover above $43million they should takes steps to prevent slavery and
human trafficking in any part of its business.

Companies can have an effect on human rights issues positively or negatively include food,
poverty, education, etc. companies should recognised their duty towards society. The preamble
to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that," every individual and every organ of
society" to promote and respect human rights. The UN Guiding principle 11 states that,"
Business enterprises should respect human rights.

There are some companies which abuses the human rights, the case of Bhopal known as Bhopal
gas tragedy, in which the Union Carbide was condemn for chemical gas leak that killed
thousands of people in 1984. In this case the gas leaked in union carbide plant during midnight
in Bhopal. The poisonous gas methyl isocyanate spread all over the city at night, killing
thousands of people. The nearby areas of the factory where worst affected. The alarm system
was not working. The union carbide was negligent and was not having proper alarm system .
In this case the union carbide has not shown concern towards society they were negligently
working. This was the biggest violation of human rights. It is clearly states that in Universal
Declaration Of Human Rights that, every individual and every organ of society to promote and
respect human rights. It is responsibility of every organ of state to respect human rights.
Ignorance of human rights abuses is no defence.

Former UN secretary general Mr. Kofi Annan from 1997 to 2006 was also founder of the
world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the United Nation Global Compact. He also
inspired the top most business leaders to join government in lifting poorest nation out of
poverty by adopting more responsible and sustainable approach of business.

Such initiatives help society in developing which reflects respect towards Human Rights.

Conclusion: Human Rights exploration is going to be intensify and the perspective of


companies towards human rights is becoming an important issue. The proliferation of voluntary
initiatives and the recognition of responsibility of human rights by companies show progress.