Transnational Corporations on Trial

On the threat to human rights posed by European companies in Latin America
08 October 2008
Report

This study analyses existing legal means of holding European transnational companies liable for extraterritorial human rights violations. The authors examine four representative legal cases against European companies in Latin America that revolve around problems typical in the region.

ISBN/ISSN
  • 978-3-927760-92-9
Programmes

Human rights are universal. However 60 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, their application and recognition is still far from ubiquitous. There has at least been progress in international criminal jurisdiction. But it is still difficult to hold private individuals and transnational companies liable for human rights transgressions outside the borders of their countries. The instruments created to bind companies to human rights standards as well as to social and environmental standards are voluntary. Voluntary instruments are inadequate in conflict situations, as those affected lack the means to secure and monitor their rights. In Latin America today, foreign direct investments are the most important source of external capital. Unfortunately, corporate activities often also involve a risk of human rights violations an environmental destruction.

Shaping globalisation at the policy level is one of the greatest challenges of our century. The Heinrich Böll Foundation commissioned this study in preparation for the EU-LAC Summit. The study analyses existing legal means of holding European transnational companies liable for extraterritorial human rights violations. The authors examine four representative legal cases against European companies in Latin America that revolve around problems typical in the region.

 

This publication was elaborated within the framework of the cooperation-project „Handel-Entwick-lung-Menschenrechte“ of the Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs), the Forschungs- und Dokumentations-zentrum Chile-Lateinamerika (FDCL), and the Transnational Institute (TNI).

Pages: 40

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