Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Given the current state of globalization, where businesses operate internationally and have increasing power and impact on societies, it is important to study how international law stipulate companies’ responsibility for human rights. In 2011, the United Nations published the UN guiding principles (UNGP), which is the first global standard that stipulates businesses’ responsibility of human rights in their operations. A significant part of The principles is based on human rights due diligence, which prompt companies to provide a process for identifying, preventing, mitigating and accounting for how they address their impacts on human rights. Human rights due diligence is regarded as a powerful tool to respect human rights, especially concerning companies operating in high risk countries, although it is acknowledged to be deficient regarding its scope and content. Thus, UNGP provides a framework for businesses to utilize, but the remainder is left for national states to clarify and act upon. Current international legislation does not require states to impose regulations of enterprises’ impact on human rights abroad; however, they are not prohibited by international law from doing so either. Further, UNGP provides a national action plan for ensuring that companies respect human rights, which, in detail, discusses how a state ought to manage these issues. This study examines how the Swedish state, according to current international legislation, should affect Swedish companies’ implementation of Human Rights due diligence in high-risk countries. The study identifies different Swedish initiatives, including the Swedish CSR-centre in Beijing China, for fostering companies’ respect for human rights abroad. The study shows that the Swedish state induces many initiatives that improve Swedish companies’ respect for human rights in their operations. However, the Swedish state could according to international law, and should, make greater efforts to actively influence companies’ business conduct, and also examine the possibility of establishing human rights due diligence legislation, in order to ensure that companies carry out human rights due diligence to prevent human rights violations.
Key words: State involvance, Corporate Human rights due diligence, High risk countries, Swedish companies, The Swedish CSR-centre in Beijing.
2016. , 59 p.