The Center for International Business & Human Rights
The University of Oklahoma College of Law has established the first International Business & Human Rights Center at a U.S. law school. The Center was founded in 2016 to train future legal leaders and provide academic think tank support in the field of international business and human rights. With a particular focus on the energy and extractive sectors and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) companies, the Center produces scholarship, engages in legal advocacy and outreach, hosts events, and offers courses in this new and rapidly growing field.
U.S. businesses are increasingly finding themselves in difficult operating environments abroad that have weak rule of law institutions and significant human rights problems. At the same time, the U.S. Government expects companies to respect human rights and conduct human rights due diligence in their operations, in line with the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. A recent survey has found a significant number of companies now have human rights policies and companies more often than not expect their lawyers to serve as the implementers of such policies. These expectations require leadership by the legal community and support for U.S. businesses operating abroad.
The Center’s team is at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in Norman, Oklahoma. Evelyn Aswad, the Herman G. Kaiser Chair in International Law, is the founder and director of the Center.