World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


WSF: Corporate Actors Must Be Held Accountable

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI INDEX: IOR 51/001/2004 18 January 2004

World Social Forum: Corporate Actors must be held accountable

(Mumbai, India) Amnesty International's Secretary General has called for greater corporate accountability in the struggle to make "another world possible".

"Economic globalization has expanded the reach of corporate power and it is more urgent than ever that companies be brought within the rule of human rights law. Voluntary initiatives by themselves are not enough - voluntary approaches only work for the well-intentioned. The historical reality is that some form of legal framework is necessary to restrain abuses."

Speaking at the launch of a new publication The UN Human Rights Norms for Business, Towards Legal Accountability, Irene Khan argued that corporate actors have a vital role to play in protecting and developing human rights around the world. The UN norms are an important step towards the creation of an international binding treaty that will hold companies to account for human rights violations, she said.

"Sadly there is great resistance to the Norms. At a time when the entire multilateral approach represented by the United Nations is itself facing an unprecedented threat from the fall-out of the 'war on terror' the Norms have come under attack both by Governments at the UN and by businesses."

"By using the Norms as a basis for lobbying and campaigning, civil society groups can help ensure that companies face up to their responsibilities to apply and refer to the Norms, but can also demonstrate support for the entire multilateral UN system and the international standards it sets," Ms Khan said.

"The Norms are the first authoritative and comprehensive set of global business standards and, as such, establish clear rules for corporate behaviour on human rights. For this reason it is essential that the Norms receive the full support of governments, companies and financial institutions."

"Some corporations around the world are contributing to human rights violations with impunity. In the diamond fields of the DRC Amnesty International has worked on the cases of suspected illegal diamond miners shot dead by state security guards. Most are unarmed and fired on with out warning. The company running the diamond concessions and the authorities turn a blind eye to these killings."

"In Bosnia-Herzegovina we are currently working on a project looking at discrimination in employment on grounds of ethnicity. Many returning minorities face enormous difficulties in finding employment."

"It is nearly twenty years since the disaster at a chemical plant in Bhopal, India, claimed the lives of thousands of people. The failure of US Corporation Union Carbide to ensure minimum safety standards, directly contributed to the disaster. Sadly, too little has been done since then to ensure legal accountability for companies operating at a transnational level," Irene Khan concluded.


The UN Human Rights Norms For Business: Towards Legal Accountability. Read the full report online at


You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news