Public Law

Although human rights have traditionally been thought of as safeguards against state abuse and therefore the responsibility of government and the public sector, there is a growing interest in the role of businesses in this area.

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has been focussing on this hot topic recently – and it was also considered by delegates from around the world at the 10th International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions in Edinburgh this month. The conference resulted in an “Edinburgh Declaration” which includes an agreement to advise businesses on how to prevent and remedy human rights abuses.

The current economic climate is perhaps the biggest test of the private sector’s commitment to corporate responsibility. One incentive for companies to make human rights their business is the loss of reputation (and trade) which can arise from allegations of human rights abuses. Interested to hear your thoughts.