The Debate about having a debate about a business and human rights treaty

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

By Joanna Kyriakakis

The current debate about the desirability of renewing discussions on a UN Business and Human Rights treaty frustrates me a little. There. I said it. I am not referring to conversations about what the substance of any treaty might look like, which will in due course be necessary. Rather, it is opposition to the renewal of treaty efforts at all that I am struggling with. I say this well aware of the political history in this area and, in particular, that the last proposed treaty, the Draft Norms for Transnational Corporations, inspired polarised views.

To provide some background. Following recommendations of the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights (SRSG), the UN adopted the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework (2008) and Guiding Principles (2011) to guide international action on business and human rights. According to this approach, states will commit more strongly to remedying the…

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You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners

Mephitic's BS Ramblings

“You can judge a society by how well it treats its prisoners”.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

The last executions in the UK took place in 1964, with capital punishment for murder being abolished in 1969 (1973 in NI)  subsequently it was abolished in all circumstances in 1998. Since 2004 the UK has been prohibited from restoring capital punishment as long as it is party to the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite this, recent opinion polls suggest that the majority of the British population remain in favour of capital punishment.

In stark contrast, the death penalty in a majority of US states is flourishing, as of January 1st 2012 there were 3189 people on death row.  Matthew B. Robinson, PhD Professor of Government & Justice Studies of the Appalachian State University offers an explanation as to why:

  • History & Culture: The US has a long history & culture of violence…

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