Normativity, Ethics, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: A Critical Assessment
Journal of Human Rights
This article critically assesses the work of the UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights (SRSG) John Ruggie. The article adopts a normative perspective on the issue. Thus, its critique is derived from the standpoint of ethics. The SRSG was instrumental in shifting the burden of proof to those who deny corporate human rights responsibilities. This achievement, however, is relativized by the very restrictive interpretation of such responsibilities, both in terms of their scope as well as the normative force assigned to them. Finally, the article explores and analyzes the SRSG's relative reluctance to address and engage with ethical categories more explicitly. It outlines the dangers and blind spots that may result from this reluctance and reflects on the role that ethics can, and perhaps should, play in the broader debate on business and human rights.
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