International Business and Human Rights
International Business and Human Rights: (3 Hours) This course will focus primarily on the human rights issues facing companies operating abroad in the energy and ICT sectors. We will examine the United Nations (UN) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines for business and human rights as well as the UN’s decision to draft a treaty on this topic. We will explore international voluntary multi-stakeholder initiatives that have emerged in the energy and ICT sectors, such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (which include corporate participants such as ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips) as well as the Global Network Initiative (which includes participants such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook). We will also analyze human rights litigation in U.S. courts involving energy and ICT companies for complicity in human rights violations abroad as well as new laws and regulations passed by the U.S. government to enforce corporate due diligence on human rights matters in their foreign operations. Ultimately students will prepare a paper as if they are general counsel for a particular energy or ICT company and assess the specific human rights challenges facing that company in its foreign operations, the relevant international standards, and propose ways forward to the company’s CEO. We will engage with leaders on this topic from NGOs, business, and the State Department. International Human Rights Law is recommended but not required. This paper may be used to meet the graduation writing requirement. To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org a one paragraph statement of interest with resume and transcript.
Pictured: At the end of the IBHR course, students present their recommendations on how to solve contemporary business and human rights issues facing companies in the ICT and energy sectors in countries throughout the world.