Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights : A Case Study of Uyghur Forced Labour

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202104221948
Title: Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights : A Case Study of Uyghur Forced Labour
Author: Wahlström, Eve
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202104221948
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/329287
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Oikeustieteen maisterin koulutusohjelma
Master's Programme in Law
Magisterprogrammet i rättsvetenskap
Specialisation: Kansainvälinen oikeus
International Law
Folkrätt
Abstract: Chinese labour programs in Xinjiang allow the use of Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups for forced labour in factories owned by private entities. In this thesis, the Uyghur forced labour scheme is researched through the lens of corporate responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The purpose of this thesis is to provide a legal assessment of the scope and extent of transnational corporations’ responsibility under the UNGPs’ business and human rights regime for relying on goods, components, and materials sourced from China implicated in forced labour in the Xinjiang region. Uyghur forced labour is a human rights violation, and under the UNGPs, transnational corporations are expected to respect human rights in all their business activities wherever they operate. As part of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, transnational corporations should address the risk of Uyghur forced labour by conducting human rights due diligence. Transnational corporations have a non-binding responsibility to respect human rights under the UNGPs. The analysis shows that transnational corporations do not have obligations under international law to respect human rights in their extraterritorial activities. Transnational corporations are bound by domestic laws prohibiting international human rights violations and forced labour in their extraterritorial activities. The analysis shows that home states of transnational corporations have extraterritorial jurisdiction in certain situations to incur legal liability on the extraterritorial activities of corporate nationals or their overseas subsidiaries where they fail to respect human rights and the prohibition of forced labour.
Subject: UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
international human rights law
forced labour
Uyghurs
transnational corporations


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