Research Handbook on Labour, Business and Human Rights Law
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Research Handbook on Labour, Business and Human Rights Law

Edited by Janice R. Bellace and Beryl ter Haar

Inquisitive and diverse, this innovative Research Handbook explores the ways in which human rights apply to people at work, through national constitutional provisions, judicial decisions and the application of rights expressed in supranational instruments. Key topics include evaluation of the role of the ILO in developing and promoting internationally recognized labour rights, and the examination of the meaning of the obligation of business to respect human rights, considering the evolution from international soft law to incorporation in codes of conduct and the emerging requirement of due diligence.
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Chapter 13: Freedom of association: its emergence and the case for prevention of its decline

Tonia Novitz


Freedom of association emerged initially as a right of ‘citizens’ in countries of the North. Gradually, the compass of people able to claim this entitlement was extended and had profound implications for the parameters of acceptable behaviour of business and employers. The grander endeavour to promote international human rights arguably entails universality of entitlement for every human being, going beyond a claim only for a citizen of a particular State. However, the apparent imperatives of global capitalism led to a neutering of this entitlement under international law, resulting in a diminution of its efficacy and content. The chapter closes by considering the corresponding effects in domestic labour markets, namely how nationalistic forms of discrimination and exclusion can now flourish to the detriment of workers and business.

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