TNCs: decades of discussions and fruitless attempts at the UN


Still recently, in 2003, draft Norms on the Responsibilities of TNCs and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights had been adopted by the Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the body of independent experts of the Human Rights Commission (the Human Rights Council’s predecessor).

The CETIM had been, together with the American Association of Jurists (AAJ), one of the key actor in the working group that developed those draft norms. But in 2005, the Commission’s member states dropped those draft norms and voluntary and non-binding codes of conduct were instead promoted, culminating in 2011 in the adoption by the Human Rights Council of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

But how can one realistically expect to discipline the economy’s most powerful actors through voluntary codes of conduct? Recent experience has shown that we cannot count on TNCs to self-regulate.

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