International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations

Volume 32 (2016)

Volume 32 (2016) / Issue 4

Yossi Dahan, Hanna Lerner, Faina Milman-Sivan, 'The Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights: Labour Violations and Shared Responsibility' (2016) 32 International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Issue 4, pp. 425–447


The ‘Protect, Respect, and Remedy’ Framework and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights drafted by John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights, place responsibility on multinational corporations to respect human rights in conducting their relationships with business partners. The article explicates and criticizes the normative conception of responsibility underpinning Ruggie’s approach. It does so by juxtaposing Ruggie’s approach with an alternative normative conception of shared responsibility towards workers’ rights, according to which responsibility to prevent and remedy labour rights violations should be shared by all participants in the global chains of production. The shared responsibility approach offers a set of five principles for allocating responsibility among the different participants, whereas Ruggie takes into consideration only two of these principles. Thus, we argue that the moral responsibility of business proposed by the Framework and Guiding Principles is too narrow and does not allow for a substantive protection of labour rights in global supply chains. The Framework and the Guiding Principles should be revised to place stringent responsibilities on multinational corporations. Such revisions are not only morally justified but could also be feasible, as demonstrated by recent developments, such as the creation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, as well as the demands raised by Ecuador and South Africa in the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

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ISSN: 0952-617X
ID: IJCL2016022