Preventing human right violations in the global garment industry : analysing the case of corporate social responsibility and its further development
Orta Verschuren, Maaike
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The paper examines the global garment industry and the evolution of human rights protection in this industry through the use of corporate social responsibility (CSR). An analysis is made on the main human rights issues present in the industry by looking at the cases of Bangladesh and Cambodia, two countries which have very successfully integrated into the industry and now are faced with many social problems due to the continuing race to the bottom by global brands. Further on in the paper the focus lies on the very recently and newly growing Ethiopian garment industry: the paper looks at what can be achieved in terms of CSR development in the country, given its very interesting nature as a newly established and ‘fresh’ garment producer and exporter, which offers many opportunities for a proper monitoring system. Based upon the conclusion of this analysis, an assessment will be made on the growing responsibility that corporations need to take in the defence of human rights and what the next step is in the development of these responsibilities. The paper concludes that there is an increasing demand for a more stringent and binding system of corporate regulation in terms of how their activities violate human rights. Slowly the concept of corporate accountability is gaining force and will serve to complement the established, but weak, concept of corporate social responsibility.