Over the past several years, the topic of corporate behavior has moved from the periphery of the human rights discussion to become an area of concerted focus for international organizations and human rights NGOs. States and companies are paying closer attention to calls for enhanced accountability for corporate activities that impact on human rights, from child labor to internet censorship.
As a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, I have been teaching a course on business and human rights for the past few years, focusing on international developments but also exploring how Ireland fits into this trend.
Ireland was recently found to be the world’s third “most globalized economy,” after Singapore and Hong Kong. It is home to the European headquarters of some of the largest multinational corporations, including Apple, Facebook and Google, no strangers to human rights controversies. Shell’s gas pipeline in Mayo has probably been the most notable case recently of corporate activities clashing with community interests in Ireland. And yet, the topic of business and human rights in the country has not been given the attention it deserves.
With that in mind, last month I started a blog, Business and Human Rights in Ireland, which will track and analyze developments from an Irish perspective, with an eye also to the international context. I’ll address legal and policy issues in the blog, as well as highlight human rights concerns from the activities of Irish companies or multinational corporations based in Ireland.
I’ll also use this forum to highlight any developments arising from a 2012 Irish Centre for Human Rights report, ‘Business and Human Rights in Ireland,’ which I co-authored. That report drew on the UN Framework and Guiding Principles and made a list of recommendations for the Irish Government, companies and civil society. I hope that visitors enjoy the blog.