Editor’s note: Abdurrahman is currently working for Doing Business
Right project at the Asser Institute as an intern. He received his LL.M.
International and European Law from Tilburg University and currently he is
a Research Master student at the same university.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza attracted public
attention from various parts of the world. As a result, the demand to ensure
that businesses do not contribute to or commit human rights violations,
particularly multinational enterprises (MNEs) which can easily engage in forum
shopping between states with lax regulations, started to make itself heard.
This increased public interest drove national governments to start addressing
this issue in an attempt to prevent MNEs from getting involved in human rights
abuses along their supply chains. In
this respect, to deal with the human rights abuses committed by MNEs in the
ready-made garment (RMG) sector and beyond, numerous transnational and national
initiatives have emerged in different forms since the Rana Plaza disaster.
These initiatives include agreements (e.g. the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety) with binding
commitments, traditional voluntary CSR-based multi-stakeholder initiatives (e.g. the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety), domestic legal (e.g. the UK Modern Slavery Act and the French law on the duty of vigilance), administrative measures (e.g. the reform of the Department of Inspections for
Factories and Establishments in Bangladesh for better factory and labour
inspections) or agreements
between governmental bodies, businesses and some other stakeholders (e.g. the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and the Dutch Agreement on Sustainable Garment and Textile).
These concerted efforts, to ensure responsible
business conduct show an extreme variety in terms of their scope, approaches
and parties involved. In particular, the
French law on the duty of vigilance and the Dutch agreement on sustainable
garment will be the focus on this blog since while the adoption of the former
was accelerated by the disaster, the latter was an indirect response to it. It
is crucial to scrutinise the implementation of these initiatives and whether or
not they positively transform the business-as-usual in the RMG sector. In this
blog, after brief explanations of the French and Dutch initiatives, some of the
concerns and problems, which may be encountered in their implementation
process, will be presented. More...
Five years ago, the Rana Plaza building collapsed, taking with it at least 1134 innocent lives and injuring more than 2000 others. This industrial tragedy of incomparable scale constitutes a milestone in the business and human rights discussion. There will always be a 'before' and an 'after' Rana Plaza. Its aftershock triggered potentially seismic changes in the regulation of transnational corporations, such as the much-discussed French law on the ‘devoir de vigilance’. It is, therefore, essential to scrutinize with great care the aftermath of the tragedy: the innovations it triggered in the transnational regulation of the garment supply chain, the different processes initiated to compensate the victims, and in general the various hard and soft, private and public, legal and non-legal initiatives stemming from the urge to tackle a fundamental injustice. Thus, in the days to come we will feature a series of blogs on Rana Plaza and its consequences prepared by our outstanding interns: Raam Dutia and Abdurrahman Erol.More...
Editor's Note: Catherine Dunmore is an experienced international lawyer who practised international arbitration for multinational law firms in London and Paris. She recently received her LL.M. from the University of Toronto and her main fields of interest include international criminal law and human rights. Since October 2017, she is part of the team of the Doing Business Right project at the Asser Institute.
The Court of Appeal in London recently handed down its judgment in Dominic Liswaniso Lungowe and Ors. v Vedanta Resources Plc and Konkola Copper Mines Plc  EWCA Civ 1528 (Lungowe v Vedanta) addressing issues of jurisdiction and parent company liability. The judgment runs contrary to the historical legal doctrine that English domiciled parent companies are protected from liability for their foreign subsidiaries’ actions. This decision clarifies the duty of care standard a parent company owes when operating via a subsidiary and opens the gates to other English domiciled companies and their subsidiaries being held accountable for any human rights abuses. More...