On MNCs and Human Rights: an Overall Picture (Article)

“Las Empresas Multinacionales y Su Responsabilidad en Materia de Derechos Humanos: Una Visión de Conjunto” (click here) is the title of a new article by Professor Zamora Cabot, of the University of Castellón, on multinational coroporations and human rights.

An Introductory Part (Part I), places this work in the field of governance of global public interests. In Part II the author critically reviews the recent decision of the USSC in Kiobel case, contesting the projection to the human rights ATCA litigation of the canon against the extraterritoriality of laws as applied in Morrison; the history-based interpretation made by Chief Justice Roberts is also contested in that it fossilizes the ATCA in its origins, thus difficulting a judicial reading of the Act adapted to our time. In Part (III), after having considered several cases in some European countries, the author evaluates critically the European legal framework, especially in relation to the jurisdiction of the Courts and the applicable law.  In Part (IV) Professor Zamora Cabot studies a new interesting field: the Extraterritorial Obligations of States (ETOs) and how they operate as regard the responsibility of transnational corporations, either through international regulations or by national initiatives; among the latter the author highlights some Acts passed in the United States on trafficking of human beings or on transparency in the supply chain. In Part (V), the author focuses on the extractive industry and its problems related to indigenous minorities, as well as on the implementation in Spain of the United Nations Guiding Principles by means of a National Plan on Business and Human Rights being currently developed. Professor Zamora Cabot finishes with a Part VI, where he recalls his view on the US Kiobel case as a step backward in the field of human rights protection; however, as a partial compensation to this judicial decision, he highlights the increasing awareness of the problem in many other countries, where public authorities and other stakeholders are advancing some proper solutions to the challenges posed by transnational corporations regarding the protection and development of human rights.

Ps: this article adds to one of the main lines of research of Prof. Zamora Cabot, focused on the liability of multinational enterprises as regards human rights. The work reflects a Report presented to the 25th Congress of the AEPDIRI, celebrated in September 2013 in the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona.