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Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: Normative Innovations and Implementation Challenges

This paper analyzes the use of the OECD National Contact Point system as a means to bring complaints against multinational corporations in relation to human rights impacts, and offers suggestions about how to strengthen the system.

May 2015 | John G. Ruggie and Tamaryn Nelson, Corporate Responsibility Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School | Pages: 32

The OECD National Contact Point system is a state-based means for remedy. This summary is excerpted from the resource.


This paper analyzes the first and still one of the very few international mechanisms that governments have established enabling individuals, communities or their representatives to bring complaints against multinational corporations: the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises promulgated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The authors’ interest in the Guidelines in this paper is two-fold. First, we want to identify patterns of use over time in order to better understand them. Second, we want to see what if any difference exists in these patterns since the endorsement by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 of the Guiding Principles on Human Rights, core elements of which were incorporated into the 2011 OECD Guidelines revision. Finally, we offer some concluding thoughts about how this complaints mechanism should be strengthened.

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