Corporate accountability for economic, social and cultural rights abuses committed abroad: foreign victims access to remedy in home states
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The lack of corporate accountability for human rights abuses committed in developing countries remains one of the major obstacles to the universal respect of fundamental human rights. To remedy this situation, the international community of States and academics have been considering the role that home States could play in the regulation and adjudication of extraterritorial corporate activities. In that context, the present thesis proposes to focus on the specific question of the possibility for victims of extraterritorial corporate economic, social and cultural rights abuses to obtain remedies from the concerned corporation in the home State. More precisely, it analyses whether, and if so, under which conditions, current international law requires or encourages home States to provide these remedies, on the basis of the combined study of two recent documents: the United Nations Guiding Principles Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, and the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Furthermore, for a better understanding of the potential concrete implications of these documents, the present thesis assesses the UK and Dutch legislation and legal practice with regard to their content. Finally, the thesis concludes that, from a general point of view, these documents represent a great step forward for the re-shaping of the international legal order and thus for the creation of worldwide corporate accountability. However, the thesis also concludes that they are insufficient because they do not consider the specific question of the existence of a home State’s duty to compel its corporations to remedy their extraterritorial economic, social and cultural rights abuses.