Supply chains, international trade and human rights

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Series Details Volume 2022/46, 46
Publication Date 2022
ISBN 9789294662446


In recent years policies have been developed in democratic countries, particularly in the US and the EU, to address human rights abuses in other countries. Although the issue of international human rights violations has traditionally been addressed under international frameworks, such as the UN or the ILO, governments do not necessarily build on these frameworks to develop policies to deal with human rights violations abroad. Instead, they often use unilateral trade measures, such as import bans and export controls, to address human rights issues. Domestic legislation to increase transparency regarding human rights violations in supply chains has also been developed in many jurisdictions. The complexity and diversity of policies to address human rights violations pose challenges to business and governments. Against this backdrop, this paper attempts to help them understand the development of these policies by providing a framework to systematically map them. The framework categorises various policies in three groups based on their approaches to human rights violations: the trade policy approach, the economic sanctions approach and the human rights due diligence approach. The trade policy approach, for instance, includes import bans and export restrictions, the economic sanctions approach includes prohibitions of transactions and investment limitations, and the human rights due diligence approach makes human rights due diligence mandatory.

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