Remedies for Human Rights Violations by Transnational Corporations: The Case of Business and Human Rights Arbitration

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Title: Remedies for Human Rights Violations by Transnational Corporations: The Case of Business and Human Rights Arbitration
Author: Rönnberg, Pernilla
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Oikeustieteen maisterin koulutusohjelma
Master's Programme in Law
Magisterprogrammet i rättsvetenskap
Specialisation: Kansainvälinen oikeus
International Law
Abstract: As transnational corporations have emerged as some of the most prominent actors within the international system, there have been several attempts to approach them through international legal and normative instruments during the past 50 years. Despite this, there is no established system by which corporate actors can be held directly accountable for human rights abuse under international law. Accessing domestic remedies for human rights abuse by transnational corporations remains a challenge as the abuse often occur in regions where fair and effective court proceedings are unavailable. Extraterritorial court proceedings, on the other hand, entail several practical and legal barriers to the access to remedy, causing a general lack of final court rulings in the field. Against this background, international arbitration has been proposed as an accessible and effective method for the resolution of disputes which concern corporate activities and human rights. In December 2019, the Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration were launched with the intent of facilitating arbitration of disputes in this context. The aim of arbitration under the Hague Rules is to provide those affected by adverse human rights impacts of businesses with the possibility of a remedy and to provide businesses with a mechanism for addressing their adverse human rights impacts. The aim of the study is to examine the potential of international arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution method for cases concerning adverse human rights impacts by transnational corporations. As the underlying issues which give rise to the need for a non-Statebased grievance mechanism, the thesis addresses the limited international legal framework applicable to corporate actors and the barriers to remedy that victims may face in human rights litigation against transnational corporations. Acknowledging that arbitration is not meant as a general substitute for Statebased redress mechanisms, the thesis finds that international arbitration under specialized procedural rules can provide several advantageous features that improve the access to remedy for victims of human rights abuse by transnational corporations. However, the availability and effectiveness of arbitration in this context is dependent on additional mechanisms to be established on the initiative of states, businesses or international institutions. The thesis concludes that business and human rights arbitration is a well-motivated option to be developed further.
Subject: International Law
Human Rights Law
International Arbitration
Transnational Corporations
Business and Human Rights

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