Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business

Edited by Surya Deva and David Birchall

This authoritative Research Handbook brings together leading international scholars and practitioners to provide in-depth analysis of some of the most hotly debated topics and issues concerning the interface of human rights and business. Offering critical insights on prominent strands of research within the field of business and human rights, this comprehensive Research Handbook examines key challenges and potential solutions in the field.
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Chapter 4: The social construction of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

John Gerard Ruggie


The chapter is organized into six parts, including an Introduction. Section II highlights some of the broad systemic factors that shaped the global economy and polity from the 1990s into the mid-2000s, the peak of the most recent wave of globalization. Section III summarizes the key features of two very different UN-based initiatives proposed around the turn of the century, both seeking to better protect human rights from corporate harm: the ‘Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights’ (Norms) and the UN Global Compact. Section IV outlines and illustrates the conceptual constructs underlying the development of the Guiding Principles, while Section V does the same for their dissemination and implementation. Section VI, the Conclusion, offers some reflections on the Guiding Principles’ experience for this and possibly other complex and contested domains of global rulemaking.

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