Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect
Business & Governance, Political Conflict

Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Author(s): Conor Seyle
Date: April 26, 2013
Publication Type: Working Paper
Research Topics: Political Conflict, Business & Governance

Overview:

Past research on business engagement with human rights, peace, and security has identified specific reasons why national and transnational companies may be interested in participating, as well as how they have contributed to protecting human rights. The international discussion around the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) can be considered a special case of protection of human rights and security. The issues addressed under R2P, such as the prevention of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, fall within the scope of business engagement with human rights or peace. This suggests that there is a role for business to contribute to the R2P. This paper extends the existing literature in business engagement to argue that there is a specific role for businesses to participate in R2P. I discuss characteristics of R2P that mean that business participation is more pressing or more likely than participation in other forms of human rights protection.

Key Findings:

  • The literature on business participation in peace and conflict suggest that the focus on state respoinsiblity misses potentially significant partner.
  • There are specific economic incentives for business to positively participate in the protection of people internationally.
  • Mass atrocities are ultimately bad for business.
  • Business has a direct role to play in supporting prevention of mass atrocities through early warning and directly supporting the capacity to prevent atrocities.

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