Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Multinationals’ Accountability Abroad

Should Canadian or American multinationals (MNCs) be held accountable in Canada or the USA for the human rights violations that they commit abroad? Why or why not? Illustrate your answer with examples.

I believe Canadian or American MNCs should be held accountable in Canada or the USA for the human rights violations that they commit abroad because it is legally practical and for the benefit of keeping universal justice.

Reason elaboration:
 Respect for human rights is one of the general principles recognized by civilized nations. Ten human rights principles of UN (August, Mayer and Michael 2013, 44) ask companies to respect human rights and labor standards. It is also adopted and stated in Canadian, American and other national laws. MNCs usually have a parent corporation in home country and subsidiaries in other countries. (August, Mayer and Michael 2013, 189)When human rights violation happens, it is generally acknowledged by international society that home states should regulate the parent corporations and the host country should regulate the subsidiary company. Xx However, the host countries, where harms, tortures and other abuses happen usually are developing countries. These regions are labor or natural resource intensive but because of the governmental corruption or giving priority to economic development, they have poor legal systems or not sufficient law enforcement. So it becomes very hard for the victims in host countries to seek redress through their own legal system. Xx But countries like Canada and United States have their extraterritorial laws to regulate MNCs abroad (Canada Bill C-323, United States Alien Tort Claims Act). It makes it possible for them to get justice or compensation for wrongs committed by MNCs in their countries. xx

1.      Strong corporate power versus weak social group: although victims from foreign countries could sometimes get help from NGOs, they are mostly not afford of harm and usually at the lowest social hierarchy while the MNCs have abundant of   resource and interest of the state( like mining industry in Canada (Eisenberg 2013)).
2.      Whether companies as opposed to natural persons can be held liable under the ATCA is still a question mark. 

Examples illustration:
1. Kpadeh v. Emmanuel (Statute 2013)
2. Wang Xiaoning v. Yahoo! (Statute 2013)
3. Doe v. Unocal (Statute 2013)
In these real cases, Plaintiffs accuse US companies of violation of human rights and sue them according to the Alien Tort Statute and some of the companies were held accountable. I will give a detailed illustration in the paper. xx

August, Ray, Don Mayer, and Bixby Michael. "International Business Law." Pearson, 2013.
Eisenberg, Matt. "CCIJ." 2013.
Statute, Alien Tort. Alien Tort Statute. 2013. (accessed May 18, 2013).
Good work, Li Xue – subject to my comments above. A good proposal, so I look forward to reading your final essay. You will need to discuss Kiobel since in this case, the US Supreme Court has just changed what is legally possible … Read the short decision from April 2013.  79%

No comments:

Post a Comment