Some journal entries argue that corporations are held accountable for their human rights abuses. BP was held accountable for their environmental damage in Columbia and Shell was also held accountable for their violations and had to pay the Niger Delta Fishermen for the oil spills.
However, most journal entries argue otherwise, and believe most corporations are not held accountable for their human rights abuses. Not only is there an increasing lack of remedies for corporate human rights abuses, but now the Alien Tort Statute, a tool used to make corporations accountable for their actions, has now been limited due to the recent Supreme Court ruling which reflects the global approach to human rights: the state doesn’t want to be involved if the case doesn’t concern them. Corporations are committing human rights violations and governments are supporting them due to their corruption, as seen in “Gold Rush: Striking inequality in rural Tanzania”, and in Qatar, the government itself are the ones committing human rights violations. Governments are contradicting their fundamental obligations that were endorsed in the UN’s Guiding Principles, and they are also supporting corporations avoiding accountability by filing amici curiae briefs which is only making the “governance gap” bigger.
There’s evidence that there’s a growing movement to promoting human rights. EU’s SMART programme has led to Myanmar getting their first Code of Conduct which will educate corners of the world about human rights where violations are a common occurrence. Corporations are making a positive effort as well to promote and respect human rights, as seen with ‘Peace Day’ and Camac Energy respecting the opinions and feelings of the local community and stopping oil exploration in those areas.
I do believe there needs to be change concerning international human rights law. Most of the law is soft law and is not legally binding and the two journal entries under this page make good recommendations on attempting to solve this problem. One recommendation was the implication of an international court that’s purpose is to address multinational corporation abuses where human rights could be enforced on those corporations. Another effective recommendation is India’s “apply or explain” strategy: any nonconformity with a set of guildines will have to be reported in the company’s annual report with reasons. This method will allow violations to be explained, then assessed and then punished if necessary.
This portfolio leads to the answer that corporations are not held accountable for their human rights violations with the aid of governments. Some corporations actively promote and respect human rights, however not enough do this. The recommendations seem simple and effective, however businesses keep opposing any prospect of bettering international rules, and we cannot rely on governments to better the rules and enforce them when they have such a close relationship with the business sector.