Enhancing Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Violations: Is Extraterritoriality the Magic Potion?

Nadia Bernaz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, resulting from the work of John Ruggie and his team, largely depend on state action and corporate good will for their implementation. One increasingly popular way for states to prevent and redress violations of human rights committed by companies outside their country of registration is to adopt measures with extraterritorial implications, some of which are presented in the article, or to assert direct extraterritorial jurisdiction in specific instances. Some United Nations human rights bodies and non-governmental organisations are clearly supporting the use of extraterritoriality and have argued that international human rights law places an obligation on states to embrace extraterritoriality so as to better control the activities of companies registered on their territories. In this context, the article aims to determine whether extraterritoriality is the magic potion that will help enhance corporate accountability for human rights violations committed overseas. The article explores whether such obligation exists and, beyond this, whether extraterritoriality should be further encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-511
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Accountability
  • Alien Tort Statute
  • Business and human rights
  • Export credit
  • Extraterritoriality
  • International human rights law
  • Procurement
  • Reporting
  • Stock exchange
  • United Nations

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