Perceptions of Justice and the Human Rights Protect, Respect, and Remedy Framework

Journal of Business Ethics 116 (4):781-797 (2013)
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Human rights declarations are instruments used to introduce universal standards of ethics. The UN’s Protect, Respect, and Remedy Framework (Ruggie, Protect, respect, and remedy: A Framework for business and human rights. UN Doc A/HRC/8/5, 2008; Guiding principles on business and human rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” framework. UN Doc A/HRC/17/31, 2011) intends to provide guidance for corporate behavior in regard to human rights. This article applies concepts from the field of organizational justice to the arena of business and human rights for the purpose of operationalizing the UN Framework. This approach facilitates the recognition of gaps between perceptions of justice held by stakeholders versus businesses and/or the State. Such recognition raises the potential for addressing issues that lead to divergent perceptions of justice, thus potentially improving the human rights performance of businesses. The research also shows the potential for complicity of businesses in human rights abuses and exposes a fundamental weakness in the UN Framework, which attempts to draw a sharp distinction between duties of States versus responsibilities of business. We illustrate this approach through analysis of the case of Goldcorp’s Marlin Mine in Guatemala; an extractive industry project that affects indigenous communities



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