Transnational Corporations on Trial: On the Threat to Human Rights Posed by European Companies in Latin America

For free

Publication Series Writings on Democracy, Volume 4

Transnational Corporations on Trial

Human rights are universal. However 60 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, their application and recognition is still far from ubiquitous. There has at least been progress in international criminal jurisdiction. But it is still difficult to hold private individuals and transnational companies liable for human rights transgressions outside the borders of their countries. The instruments created to bind companies to human rights standards as well as to social and environmental standards are voluntary. Voluntary instruments are inadequate in conflict situations, as those affected lack the means to secure and monitor their rights. In Latin America today, foreign direct investments are the most important source of external capital. Unfortunately, corporate activities often also involve a risk of human rights violations and environmental destruction.

Shaping globalization at the policy level is one of the greatest challenges of our century. The Heinrich Böll Foundation commissioned this study in preparation for the EU – LAC Summit. The study analyses existing legal means of holding European transnational companies liable for extraterritorial human rights violations. The authors examine four representative legal cases against European companies in Latin America that revolve around problems typical in the region.

  • There is also a Spanish version of this publication.
  • This publication was elaborated within the framework of the cooperation-project „Handel-Entwicklung-Menschenrechte" of the Heinrich Böll Foundation (hbs), the Forschungs- und Dokumentationszentrum Chile-Lateinamerika (FDCL), and the Transnational Institute (TNI).
  • This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


Product details
Date of Publication
October 8, 2008
Heinrich Böll Stiftung
All rights reserved
Your shopping Cart is loading …