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Preventing Corporate Involvement in Mass Atrocity Crimes

This resource examines how companies can be involved in mass atrocity crimes, such as genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity, and how the responsibilities of states and companies intersect when human rights are at heightened risk.

March 2016 | Rachel Davis, Shift; Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect | Pages: 10

From telecommunications companies disseminating hate speech to electronics and automotive companies with conflict minerals in their supply chains, or extractive companies and their security providers cooperating with abusive state security forces, there are numerous examples of the ways in which businesses may be involved with serious human rights abuses amounting to mass atrocity crimes. 

This briefing paper explores the implications of the global expectation that businesses should respect human rights, including by avoiding involvement in mass atrocity crimes. Specifically, it applies the lens of the Guiding Principles to the role of states in upholding the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The concept of R2P refers to the responsibility of states, individually and collectively, to prevent mass atrocity crimes. This paper provides reflections on how governments can engage with companies when human rights appear at heightened risk and reviews fundamental expectations of companies to conduct human rights due diligence as laid out in the Guiding Principles.

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