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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 23: Additional initiatives


i. UN: Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 1993 Commentary: The principal outcomes of the World Conference on Human Rights (UN Doc A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), 1993) apply to business and industry as ‘groups’, ‘organs of society’, ‘institutions’, ‘non-governmental organisations’, actors within ‘the development field’ or ‘private’ sphere and ‘members of the international community’. Paragraphs of relevance include the right to development, illicitly dumping toxic or dangerous substances (paragraph 11), racism (15), sexual harassment, exploiting or trafficking in women (18 & 38), and economically or sexually exploiting children including child pornography, child prostitution and the sale of organs (21 & 48). Additionally noteworthy is respecting the exercise of minority rights in private (paragraph 19) and eliminating violence against women in their private life (38). The Declaration and Programme of Action recognises the important contributions of NGOs in promoting and implementing human rights (paragraphs 38 & 52) including the media (39). Governments with NGO assistance should promote increased human rights awareness and mutual tolerance (paragraph 82). Finally, governments are urged to ‘incorporate standards as contained in international human rights instruments in domestic legislation and to strengthen national structures, institutions and organs of society which play a role in promoting and safeguarding human rights’ (paragraph 83). ii. UN: Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 1999 Commentary: UNGA Resolution 53/144 (1999) marks the fiftieth anniversary of the UDHR. For the draft text, see Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1998/7;...

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