Contracting Human Rights
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Contracting Human Rights

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Edited by Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl

By chronicling the continuing contest over the reach, range, and regime of rights, Contracting Human Rights analyzes the way forward in an era of many challenges. This multidisciplinary book contributes to building understanding of the maturation of human rights, from a dissident doctrine to a dynamic parameter of global governance and civil society. Through an examination of both global and local challenges to human rights, including loopholes, backlash, accountability, and new opportunities to move forward, this book analyzes trends across multiple-issue areas.
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Chapter 14: Business and human rights: exploring the limits of an expanding agenda on corporate responsibility

Crisis, Accountability, and Opportunity

Anne Vestergaard and Michael Etter


This chapter reports on a study, which examines the evolution of business and human rights discourse in news and CSR reports since the launch of the UN Global Compact in 2000. Through a qualitative content analysis, the study investigates to what extent an expanded understanding of corporations responsibility for human rights is adopted by key actors, the corporations themselves and the news media, as watchdogs and primary sources of public information on corporate conduct. Findings indicate that these actors have moved away from a focus on simply respecting human rights, towards seeing corporations as playing an active role in protecting them. News media do, however, still present this as a morally voluntary role.

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