Essay on Human Rights

Submitted By klc09d
Words: 2063
Pages: 9

Human Rights Plus Business Defining human rights is tricky in that there is a broad range of what human rights actually are. While searching for a proper definition, there is a main theme throughout all the definitions. The theme is that all these rights are inherent to every human being. Human rights were formed into a declaration shortly after World War II due to the inhuman activities that arose from this war. Long before the Second World War there was always a dilemma with humans and how each person in a society is to be treated. After the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was founded, controversy continued to remain regarding this topic. Especially in the business world, human rights are still an issue today. “Human rights issues are crossing sovereign boundaries and are no longer just issues of the state” (Shah, Corporations and Human Rights). There should be boundaries put in place to enforce human rights directly involved with American companies; however, their duty does not extend to the outer world. This ever-growing topic in the world of business has caused some stink and still is today. Ever since 1948 when the United Nations set in place the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world has debated and conflicted over this issue. There have been numerous cases with businesses about their human rights violations. Resulting from these violations came human right laws such as, the Fair Labor Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1968, and many others. Many questions arise for shareholders in the case of human rights issues. If a company cuts costs to grant these human rights and this hurts shareholders pay then should they be able to argue these laws and refuse to obey them? The purpose of businesses and corporations is in fact to make the shareholders happy and make a profit for them. Even if one does not believe in this theory it is true. It’s inevitable because they are the ones who have the majority say in how the company is ran and can how the company makes decisions. This idea of how shareholders are involved with human rights has been brought to John Gerald Ruggie in his book Just Business: Multinational Corporations And Human Rights. “There is a lack of clarity in virtually all jurisdictions regarding not only companies or their directors and officers are required to do regarding human rights, but in many cases even what they are permitted to do without running afoul of their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders” (Ruggie, Just Business: Multinational Corporations And Human Rights). In other words, if companies follow human rightslaws and regulations which are not clearly understood to begin with, shareholders can more easily formulate the laws to what benefits them. Some laws and regulations exist, but many do not know they are required by the government. Such as the law regarding human rights to sex-trafficking slaves. Of course, the people who are involved in such actions do not post the rights lawfully given to the slaves, because it would kill their business. Human rights, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, are posted in a worker’s environment as a means of protecting the company. When employers are aware their rights are protected by the law and a company is willfully following them, the people and company are protected. The sex-trafficking business is purposely created to violate other humans’ rights; therefore, secrecy of such rights is necessary to the business. If it costs shareholders more money to obey every human right that is vaguely stated, then it could ultimately result in a loss of great dividends for the company. They find that if they can cut corners and save a few dollars, shareholders are typically willing to ignore laws that do not directly benefit them. Another point Ruggie states is there is little to no coordination between agencies that regulate the conduct of corporations and their responsibility to carry out human right’s