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Symposium on Business and Human Rights: Call for Contributions


On June 24, 2016 the United Nations’ Council on Human Rights established an intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations. The working group is tasked with the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument “to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”. In 2017 the working group’s chairman published a non-binding paper outlining possible elements of a treaty on business and human rights; a further session is to be held in the fall of 2018. The resuming of the idea of a binding treaty for corporations is critically accompanied by civil society and in international human rights discourse.

On the occasion of a workshop organized by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg on 19-20 July 2018, Völkerrechtsblog will host a symposium on business and human rights which will offer the opportunity to engage in a discussion on the topic beyond the confines of the workshop.

We invite contributions that tackle questions like: Where would a treaty on business and human rights be placed within the existing system of international human rights protection? How will it relate to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights? Can and should transnational corporations even be bound by international law? How far does the responsibility of transnational corporations for human rights violations in their global activities reach and what should they be liable for? Contributions could further take up questions such as what kind of state obligations with respect to business and human rights  need further codification and what form such codification could take.

Contributions should be around 1000-1500 words long, and are welcome in English, French, or German. The symposium will take place from mid-July until the end of August 2018, contributions will be received until 6 July 2018. Please send us your texts or inquiries to We are looking forward to your posts!

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