University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series
Last Updated: 21 February 2010
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This paper was published in the University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 581-613, 2005.
The influence of transnational corporations (‘TNCs’) on the economic and political life of most countries – and on economic and political relations in general – has increased greatly in recent decades. Today, the economic capacities of transnational corporations go far beyond the economic capacities of the countries in which they operate, and their political muscle is often far greater than the ability of some states to regulate them effectively. This article considers the United Nations Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights (‘the Norms’) as a framework for definitively outlining the human rights responsibilities of business and argues that the Norms are a welcome initiative in comprehensively defining these obligations.
[∗] BSc LLB (Hons) Australian National University; MPP, University of California, Berkeley; Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales; Associate of the Australian Human Rights Centre, University of New South Wales. The author would like especially to thank the following people for their assistance in developing the thinking on this article: Sarah Joseph, David Kinley, Gillian Moon, Paul Redmond and David Weissbrodt.