Rights, Responsibilities and Returns on Investments: Mapping the Negotiation for an International Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
- Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree Master of Arts at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Abstract: A growing global consensus that businesses can be involved in human rights abuses has led to the establishment of standards for the prevention of and protection from human rights violations related to business activity and for access to remedy for violations committed. Despite this ... read moreprogress, many in the human rights community believe the current consensus falls short in addressing the full extent of business and human rights issue by merely encouraging businesses to respect human rights and to provide remedy for any violations rather than imposing a legal obligation to do so. To remedy that shortfall, a process has begun within the UN to draft a treaty to regulate business activities with relation to human rights. At least initially, the international business community and some states vigorously opposed this treaty initiative, raising the question of whether these opposing positions preclude a negotiated agreement on a business and human rights treaty. This paper employs a negotiation analysis model to examine whether the underlying interests, rather than just public positions, of the business and human rights communities present prospects for a constructive and mutually beneficial agreement. The analysis reveals the existence of some overlapping interests and incentives, demonstrating the possibility for agreement. However, the history of confrontational relationships between the business and the human rights communities, and their competing public positions, require careful strategy to navigate successfully. Assuming the perspective of the human rights community, this paper concludes with recommendations to this community for developing proposals, building coalitions, and lobbying key stakeholders in order to increase chances of achieving an agreement that could protect human rights in practice.read less