The Limits of Corporate Human Rights Obligations and the Rights of For-Profit Corporations

Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (1):119-144 (2012)

Abstract
The extension of human rights obligations to corporations raises questions about whose rights and which rights corporations are responsible for. This paper gives a partial answer by asking what legal rights corporations would need to have to fulfil various sorts of human rights obligations. We should compare thechances of human rights fulfilment (and violations) that are likely to result from assigning human rights obligations to corporations with the chances of humanrights fulfilment (and violations) that are likely to result from giving corporations the legal rights needed to undertake those human rights obligations. Corporationsshould respect basic human rights of all people. Non-complicity in human rights violations requires that corporations have the right to political freedom of speech.To actively protect people from human rights violations, corporations need the right to hire armed security personnel; such obligations should be limited to protecting corporate property and narrowly defined stakeholders. Obligations to spend corporate resources on human rights fulfilment are confined to contributing to specific projects. Corporations have no obligation to ensure a society in which human rights are fulfilled. This principle helps us understand why corporate obligations are substantially different from those of governments
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq20122217
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References found in this work BETA

Taking Rights Seriously.Thomas D. Perry - 1977 - Ethics 88 (1):80-86.
Social Choice and Individual Values.Irving M. Copi - 1952 - Science and Society 16 (2):181-181.
The Corporation as a Moral Person.Peter A. French - 1979 - American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (3):207 - 215.

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