International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


“Corporate Human Rights Violations: Possibilities of Extending Liabilities on Multinational Enterprises”1
Mr. Nisar Mohammad bin Ahmad

The massive emergence of multinational enterprises (MNEs) has become an explicit phenomenon of the current economic order of trade liberalization and economic globalization. As the theory of economic liberalism suggests a limited interference by government in economy, the MNEs have significantly and independently exercised their economic power on the principle of free market beyond the government’s control to impact on people’s daily life. The huge participation of MNEs in the global economic has also contributed to the globalization process which is fuelled by profit-making activities and serving business ends. In aiming for the profit maximization, social and human rights responsibilities have sometimes been abandoned and sidelined. As the consequences of this phenomenon, growing number of MNEs have come under fire in recent years for alleged human rights abuse. Among major rights being violated are that of economic, social and cultural rights, civil and political rights and the rights protected under international humanitarian law. Considering the negative impacts of MNEs, there have been mounting concerns and calls for a mechanism to control the MNEs’ behaviour. This includes the attempt to legally regulate the actions of MNEs so that they will not violate human rights principles in their business activities. As human rights are generally perceived as government’s obligation, both domestic and international legal regimes offer no specific mechanism to enforce human rights obligations on corporate entities, especially the MNEs. MNEs therefore remain immune to liability and victims remain without redress. This paper aims at filling these gaps by providing some mechanisms, be they on voluntary basis or legally binding, in order to stop the corporate human rights abuses. At the preliminary stage, the present paper will begin with a brief introduction to the concept of MNEs, followed by an analysis on major corporate human rights violations. Finally, this paper will provide some mechanisms that can be used to hold MNEs accountable for their human rights violations.

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