Is It Time To Prosecute UK Cos. For Human Rights Violations?

By Andrew Smith and Alice Lepeuple (July 31, 2018, 2:44 PM EDT) -- The idea of holding companies criminally liable for human rights abuses committed overseas has gained traction over the past decade. In 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights encouraged states to legislate so that companies within their jurisdiction respect human rights, including through "criminal regimes that allow for prosecutions based on the nationality of the perpetrator no matter where the offense occurs."[1] In 2016 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe called on states to "ensure that business enterprises can be held liable under the criminal law […] for the commission of offenses constituting serious human rights abuses."[2] In 2017 the Joint Committee on Human Rights recommended the imposition of a duty on companies to prevent human rights abuses and the creation of a criminal offense of failing to discharge that duty.[3] However, in its response published at the start of this year, the government made it clear that it had "no immediate plans to legislate further in this area."[4]...

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