Problematic Pragmatism

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The Ruggie Report 2008: Background, Analysis and Perspectives1

In June 2008, John Ruggie, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for business and human rights, is to present his “Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights” report to the UN Human Rights Council. The report marks a further interim result of the United Nations debate on the responsibility and accountability of transnational corporations, which has now been in progress on for many years.

The report forms the preliminary conclusion of a three-year research and consultation process that Harvard professor Ruggie had been commissioned to conduct by the UN Secretary-General and had commenced in July 2005. The Special Representative was appointed on recommendation of the then UN Commission on Human Rights, which had turned down a proposal on binding UN Norms on the Responsibility of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights in the same year. Ruggie’s mission was less ambitious. In particular, he was supposed “(…) to identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and accountability for transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights;” and “(…) to elaborate on the role of States in effectively regulating and adjudicating the role of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights, including through international cooperation”.

Problematic Pragmatism

The Ruggie Report 2008: Background, Analysis and Perspectives1

Author: Jens Martens

Editor: Elisabeth Strohscheidt

Published by MISEREOR and Global Policy Forum Europe

Aachen/ Bonn, June 2008