Human Rights Violations by Multinational Corporation Research Proposal

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Human rights violations are a problem throughout the world. These violations take place in both developed and undeveloped countries. In some instances these they are committed by government and in other instances corporations are responsible for these atrocities. There have also been situations in which host governments and Multinational corporations have worked together to commit human rights abuses. The purpose of this discussion is to examine Multinational Corporations and human rights. The primary goal of the research will be to determine the preventative measures that can be taken to prevent human rights abuses among Multinational Corporations. The research will demonstrate that a combination of an extraterritorial model and self-regulation by multinational corporations will provide the proper foundation for the prevention of human rights abuses by multinational corporations.

Human Rights

On an international level, protecting basic human right has become a pressing issue that is difficult to resolve .

Prior to the second World war, there was very little regulation of human right in the realm of international law. Various nations offered very little in the way of forming actual human rights laws instead they made declarations of intent to conventions and treaties .

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However in 1945 one of the most important aspects of international law was set into motion at the United Nations. This eventually became the Universal Declaration of Human rights on December 10, 1948. The preamble to the declaration recognizes the "inherent dignity" and "inalienable rights" of all human beings. The preamble also recognizes that failure to acknowledge human rights has caused certain barbarous acts to occur and in order to deter such acts from occurring again the member states are agreeing upon this declaration.

"THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL

Research Proposal on Human Rights Violations by Multinational Corporation Assignment

DECLARATION of HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction ."

This particular legislation allowed states and multinational organizations the opportunity to define human rights and develop international laws. According to Hefner-Burton & Tsutsui, (2005)"Today, these efforts have culminated in the creation and expansion of a worldwide system of international law designed to identify and protect a growing number of basic human rights."

The authors further explains that for many scholars and activists the increase in the amount of legal commitments among various nations of the world mark a fundamental change in the global community .

The authors point put that at the current time many nations around the world have established international standards associated with human rights .

That is there is some sort of consensus that exist around the world as it pertains to the definition of human rights. In addition many nations have adapted policies that are designed to protect the rights of people as defined by universal consensus.

The authors point out that as an increased number of countries commit to acknowledging these universal standards, these standards will also begin to evolve to include additional rights that should be available to all human beings . The authors further explain that such treaties provide human rights monitors who serve the purpose of improving the practices of governments as it pertains to various aspect of human rights. These monitoring bodies are able to accomplish this by gathering and distributing information, with the cooperation of nongovernmental activists.

Obviously, the development international human rights laws is an ongoing process that has evolved over many years. As the world has become a more global place, certain standards have been developed concerning what human rights are and how to protect such rights. In some countries human rights violations are taken more seriously than in other countries. This is the case because some countries simply do not possess the resources needed to prevent human rights violations. In addition, some countries do have the resources to prevent such atrocities but they choose to ignore these violations because it interferes with the amount of revenue (taxes) they receive from the companies involved in such practices.

Types of Human rights violations

One of the most common types of human rights violations committed by multinational companies has to do with labor practices. Sweatshops, and child labor are amongst the most common human rights violations committed by multinational corporations.

Sweatshops are defined as "shops or factories in which employees work for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions.

In most cases sweatshops are found in places where there is very little government oversight as it pertains to labor laws. In addition, most countries in which multinational corporations are caught operating sweatshops are poorer countries in which governments cannot afford to pay for oversight.

Child labor abuses are also a huge problem. According to UNICEF Child Labor is defined as "work that exceeds a minimum number of hours, depending on the age of a child and on the type of work ."

That is, child labor is allowed but is dependent of the age of the child and the type of work that is being done. According to Kolk & Tulder, (2002) there is a continuum as it pertains types of child labor which is also called child work. According to the authors tolerable work for children is defined as light work that will not be harmful to the development or health of the child. In addition the work cannot impede upon a child's ability to attend school. In most cases the children that carryout this work must be 13 years or older.

Intolerable and unacceptable instances of child labor include work that exploits and is dangerous.

In addition the 1999 ILO Convention also establishes that,

"forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict ."

The authors explain that the intolerable instances of child labor also includes the use of children for the purposes of prostitution and any other activities that are unsafe, immoral, or harmful to the health to anyone under the age of 18. The authors also explain that "Although perceptions on child labour also depend on cultural traditions, levels of economic development, and social conditions, a wide consensus exists on the unacceptability of the worst forms of child labour."

Although they are separate violations, sweatshops and child labor often go hand in hand. That is in many cases children are working in sweatshops under deplorable conditions. However in many instances children and poor people are desperate for money and they are willing to work under very dangerous conditions. In many cases the wages that can be made in sweatshops are needed for survival.

Multinational corporations have to be particularly careful in ensuring that the people that they employ are not children. They must also be certain to investigate and ensure that the conditions under which employees work are not dangerous. Although this should always be the case, many multinational corporation have endured a great deal of scrutiny because they have not always been vigilant as it pertains to human rights. Over the next few paragraphs various human rights violations by multinational corporations will be discussed.

Violations and Multinational Corporations

Multinational corporations are those that conduct business in various nations. That is their products, services and even offices are present in different countries around the world. There are many multinational corporations that have strict human rights standards that are adhered to. However, there are also those multinational corporations that seem to ignore many of the internationally recognized human rights standards. In some cases these multinational companies work alone in violating human rights. However in other instances governments work with multinational companies to commit such abuses. According to a report published by the World Bank,

"A number of significant cases have been documented of apparent collusion between MNEs and host governments in major violations of human rights. These have been brought to public attention in the media through the actions of concerned individuals and groups, most notably by non-governmental

organizations (NGOs) concerned with human rights. Among the most publicized cases have been the operations of Shell in Ogoniland,1 BP in Colombia,2 and Unocal in Burma (Myanmar), the last of these having led to landmark litigation in the United States ."

Indeed, Several multinational corporations have been accused of violating human rights. Among these companies are some of America's most well-known brands including Nike and Gap. In both cases, the human rights violations involved child workers. Also in both cases there was a great deal of outrage and concern shown from the international community.

In the case of Nike, the company has been caught running sweatshops and exploiting child workers in different places around the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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