Published: Monday 15 December 2008


A key characteristic of the modern economic regime is that its key actors are not only states but also multinational corporations. As the influence and reach of corporations has grown as a result of globalization and other developments, there is an increasing debate about the roles and responsibilities of corporate actors with regard to human rights.

Human rights standards have traditionally been the responsibility of governments. But governments very often fall short of enforcing these standards--on many occasions they are also complicit in human rights abuses by corporations. In such situations, the role of civil society organizations becomes important. The site under review is run by one such organization Business and Human Rights Resource Centre. The organization has offices in the US, UK, Hong Kong, India, South Africa and Ukraine.

This online library covers over 4,000 companies in over 180 countries. The topics include discrimination, environment, poverty and development, labour, access to medicines, health and safety, security and trade.

The site catalogues thousands of links to a wide range of materials published by companies, NGOs, governments, intergovernmental organisations, journalists and academics. It includes reports of corporate misconduct as well as positive examples of 'best practice' by companies. The Guardian, of the UK, has described the site as "an essential guide to the world's companies and their records on human rights".

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