Human Rights in the Void? Due Diligence in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Journal of Business Ethics 116 (4):799-814 (2013)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ (Principles) that provide guidance for the implementation of the United Nations’ ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework (Framework) will probably succeed in making human rights matters more customary in corporate management procedures. They are likely to contribute to higher levels of accountability and awareness within corporations in respect of the negative impact of business activities on human rights. However, we identify tensions between the idea that the respect of human rights is a perfect moral duty for corporations and the Principle’s ‘human rights due diligence’ requirement. We argue that the effectiveness of the ‘human rights due diligence’ is in many respects dependent upon the moral commitment of corporations. The Principles leave room for an instrumental or strategic implementation of due diligence, which in some cases could result in a depreciation of the fundamental norms they seek to promote. We reveal some limits of pragmatic approaches to coping with business-related human rights abuses. As these limits become more apparent, not only does the case for further progress in international and extraterritorial human rights law become more compelling, but so too does the argument for a more forceful discussion on the moral foundations of human rights duties for corporations



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,140

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Human rights and positive corporate duties: the importance of corporate–state interaction.Ivar Kolstad - 2012 - Business Ethics, the Environment and Responsibility 21 (3):276-285.
Human Rights and Human Well-Being.William Talbott - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
History, Human Rights, and Globalization.Sumner B. Twiss - 2004 - Journal of Religious Ethics 32 (1):39-70.


Added to PP

65 (#185,372)

6 months
2 (#297,033)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Geert Demuijnck
EDHEC Business School

References found in this work

Utilitarianism: For and Against.J. J. C. Smart & Bernard Williams - 1973 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
World Poverty and Human Rights.Thomas Pogge - 2002 - Ethics and International Affairs 19 (1):1-7.
Natural Law and Natural Rights.John Finnis - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
Are there any natural rights?H. L. A. Hart - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):175-191.

View all 29 references / Add more references