A Role in Corporate Responsibility, Conflict Prevention and Peace
Edited by Gabriele G.S. Suder
Chapter 2: Human Rights and Multinational Corporations: The Global Compact and Continuing Evolution
David Atkinson and Richard Pierre Claude 2.1 INTRODUCTION The intersection of two important global trends – the advancement of human rights norms with its broad menu of socio-economic and political standard, and the emergence of a globalized economy owing largely to the power and inﬂuence of multinational corporations – oﬀers both serious conﬂict and, at the same time, potential to resolve such conﬂict. In the context of modern history, the concept of human rights has captured the attention of individuals and groups around the world in the aftermath of World War II. Historian Kenneth Cmiel, who has written extensively on human rights, captures the essence of its modern transition: Few political agendas have seen such a rapid and dramatic growth as that of “human rights.” Prior to the 1940s, the term was rarely used. There was no sustained international movement in its name. There were no non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a global reach to defend its principles. There was no international law crafted to protect our human rights. By the 1990s, however, you couldn’t escape it (Cmiel, 2004, p. 117). The adoption of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 signaled the modern development of human rights. Since that time, their appeal has reached around the world oﬀering aid, protection and assistance to numerous types of human causes. Traditionally, the struggle over human rights, particularly the eﬀort for their recognition and protection, has been within the political domain deﬁned primarily by the...
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