Enforcement of Human Rights on Multi-National Corporations: Global Climate, Strategies and Trends for Compliance

By Duke, Jenness | Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

Enforcement of Human Rights on Multi-National Corporations: Global Climate, Strategies and Trends for Compliance


Duke, Jenness, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy


I. INTRODUCTION

Engaging in a human rights discussion concerning multi-national corporation (MNC) enforcement is multi-dimensional. Economic, political, social and profit issues, among others, dangle precariously from the web of an increasingly global community that debates the issue of human rights enforcement. Examination of the cacophony of compliance mechanisms must be viewed in the shadow of these rapidly changing issues.

II. OVERVIEW OF THE CLIMATE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEBATE

A. International Political Climate

When human rights issues and economics combine the debate therein becomes highly political.(1) The increase of U.S. corporate expansion extraterritorially gives rise to a heated debate worldwide on the role corporations' play in the international human rights arena. The political dichotomy between interests of developing countries and those with market economies makes it very difficult to determine the very foundation of the human rights debate.(2) Within the UN General Assembly, competing views arise between developing countries who value "respect for cultural and religious diversity around the world, respect for sovereignty and an end to the politicization of human rights issues," and those of developed countries who argue for fundamental standards of human rights and stress the hierarchy of individual liberty over economic and social rights.(3)

B. Climate Change With Emergence of Developing Nations

1. Enticement of Low Wage Markets

While the tide of political sentiment continues to question the very essence of human rights, developing countries swim with powerful strokes into the international economic market.(4) Developing countries entice MNC's with low wages and an increasingly more skilled and productive workforce.(5) Certain sectors of the U.S. labor market suffer from the competition developing countries provide.(6) The steel and textiles industries are examples of "labor-intensive" segments that have been weakened by the increased globalization of the labor market.(7)

Many MNC's who take advantage of such high profit, low wage labor markets do not abide by the international labor standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO).(8) The ILO was created in 1919 in an attempt to remove injustice in global labor markets.(9) The framers felt the injustices were enough to "imperil" world safety.(10) Many argue the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has only added to the failure of the ILO's effectiveness.(11)

Instances of slavery, child labor, and unpaid prison labor are among the most visible injustices in developing countries.(12) Children in India and Pakistan are commonly found working to help support their low-income families.(13) Without work making items such as rugs, children may be relegated to work in even worse situations.(14)

Local opposition in India to Enron, a U.S. corporation, has led to farmer grievances of unfair seizure of land and diversion of water for corporate needs.(15) Fishermen also protest in fear that power generation from the US plant will increase seawater temperature and kill fish vital to their survival.(16)

Such abuses seem repugnant to many in developed countries, most of whom, like the U.S., do not recall similar abuses in the early U.S. industrial age.(17) It is unfair to place the entire burden of human rights management on developing countries.(18) Most of the developing countries cannot provide the kind of human rights protection afforded by developed nations.(19) Developing countries are caught between the need for economic stability, development and fulfillment of international laws and treaties signed by the government.(20) When governments enter into business, it is difficult to say that they should also be the "watch dog" of their own human rights practice.(21)

2. Call to the Global Market vs. Human Rights

The emergence of developing countries into the global market evokes issues of formulation of appropriate human rights standards, determination of governance over such standards, and conflicts between the competing interests of economic development and human rights. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Enforcement of Human Rights on Multi-National Corporations: Global Climate, Strategies and Trends for Compliance
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.