IGA-331M: Business and Human Rights

Semester: Not Offered

Credit: 0.5

Faculty: John Ruggie


Day Time Location
First Day
Meet Day


Human rights traditionally have been conceived as a set of norms and practices to protect individuals from threats by the state, attributing to the state the duty to secure the conditions necessary for people to live a life of dignity. The postwar international human rights regime was premised on this conception. Gradually, obligations under this regime were extended to individual persons, holding them to account for conduct that rises to the level of international crimes. The most recent development, which emerged in the 1990s, has been to establish the principle that business enterprises, particularly multinational corporations, have human rights responsibilities independent of legal requirements in their countries of operation. This module examines the emergence of business and human rights as the latest frontier in the postwar human rights revolution. It addresses both legal developments and voluntary initiatives across a spectrum of industry sectors, types of firms, and regions. There are no formal prerequisites although students are advised to have had some prior exposure to issues of global governance (e.g., IGA-103) and corporate responsibility (e.g., BGP-230M).

Not offered in 2015-16.






John F. Kennedy School of Government 79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617-495-1100 Get Directions Visit Contact Page