Quotes about Human Rights - Corporations and Human Rights

By Tommy Pettersson

Human Rights :: Human Rights Day 10 December 2011

Human Rights Day

Multinational companies play an increasingly large role in the world, and have been responsible for numerous human rights abuses. Although the legal and moral environment surrounding the actions of governments is reasonably well developed, that surrounding multinational companies is both controversial and ill-defined. Multinational companies' primary responsibility is to their shareholders, not to those affected by their actions. Such companies may be larger than the economies of some of the states within which they operate, and can wield significant economic and political power.

No international treaties exist to specifically cover the behaviour of companies with regard to human rights, and national legislation is very variable. Jean Ziegler, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the right to food stated in a report in 2003:

[T]he growing power of transnational corporations and their extension of power through privatization, deregulation and the rolling back of the State also mean that it is now time to develop binding legal norms that hold corporations to human rights standards and circumscribe potential abuses of their position of power.
~ Jean Ziegler

In August 2003 the Human Rights Commission's Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights produced draft Norms on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with regard to human rights. These were considered by the Human Rights Commission in 2004, but have no binding status on corporations and are not monitored.

Corporations and Human Rights

... the 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: The growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."
~ Alex Carey, Australian social scientist, quoted by Noam Chomsky in World Orders Old and New

"The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations."
~ Noam Chomsky

"What it will mean is that companies will have to take account of human-rights implications of any investment they make."
~ Tristen Taylor

"Corporations are social organizations, the theater in which men and women realize or fail to realize purposeful and productive lives."
~ Lester Bangs

"American corporations hate to give away money."
~ Stephen Ambrose

"One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change."
~ David Barsamian, journalist and publisher

"If democracy is ever to be threatened, it will not be by revolutionary groups burning government offices and occupying the broadcasting and newspaper offices of the world. It will come from disenchantment, cynicism and despair caused by the realization that the New World Order means we are all to be managed and not represented."
~ Tony Benn, British Labour Party Member of Parliament

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism and in the future, nuclear terrorism."
~ Robert Bowman, Vietnam Veteran, bishop of the United Catholic Church in Melbourne Beach, FL.

"The recent quantum leap in the ability of transnational corporations to relocate their facilities around the world in effect makes all workers, communities and countries competitors for these corporations' favor. The consequence is a "race to the bottom" in which wages and social conditions tend to fall to the level of the most desperate."
~ Jeremy Brecher

"[T]here seems to be nothing to prevent the transnational corporations taking possession of the planet and subjecting humanity to the dictatorship of capital.... In order to crush any thought of organized resistance to the supporters of the new world order, tremendous police and military forces are being used to establish a doctrine of repression...."
~ Christian la Brie, Le Monde Diplomatique (Paris)

"Multinational corporations do control. They control the politicians. They control the media. They control the pattern of consumption, entertainment, thinking. They're destroying the planet and laying the foundation for violent outbursts and racial division."
~ Jerry Brown

"Indeed, it is doubtful if free government can long exist in a country where such enormous amounts of money are...accumulated in the vaults of corporations, to be used at discretion in controlling the property and business of the country against the interest of the public and that of the people, for the personal gain and aggrandizement of a few individuals."
~ Richardson V. Buhl, 43 N. W. Rep. 1102. (Nebraska)

"Policy protects the corporations, it doesn't help the consumer."
~ T. Colin Campbell, PhD, VegSource Conference 2002

"It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda acheivments of the twentieth century."
~ Alex Carey, Managing Public Opinion: The Corporate Offensive, 1978, in Taking the Risk Out Of Democracy

"Multi-billion-dollar multinational corporations view the exploitation of the world's sick and dying as a sacred duty to their shareholders."
~ John le Carre', author

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate."
~ Noam Chomsky

"In every case, the environmental hazards were made known only by independent scientists, who were often bitterly opposed by the corporations responsible for the hazards."
~ Barry Commoner

"The public is bombarded by $1 trillion of marketing worldwide with the message that the corporation has human values. McDonalds wants to see you smile. But the public suspects that there is something else behind the smiley face. But it doesn't have a lexicon or perspective to discuss it. And it doesn't have a clear political theory that says that over the last 30 years, corporations have been mucking around in our culture in a way that they hadn't before."
~ Jamie Court, Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights

"To the fervent proponents of ruthless corporate capitalism I say: make a millionaire CEO live as a poor sweatshop worker in Indonesia for one month and then ask him about the merits of the world economic system."
~ Vassilis Epaminondou

"We strongly object that the image of the poor and hungry from our countries is being used by giant multinational corporations to push a technology that is neither safe, environmentally friendly nor economically beneficial to us. On the contrary, we think it will destroy the diversity, the local knowledge and the sustainable agricultural systems that our farmers have developed for millennia and that it will thus undermine our capacity to feed ourselves."
~ Delegates from 20 African countries to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN conference on Plant Genetic Resources, 1998

"We consider the use of the South's rural poverty to justify the monopoly control and global use of genetically modified food production by the North's transnational corporations, not only an obstructive lie, but a way of derailing the solutions to our Southern rural poverty. It is the height of cynical abuse of the corporations' position of advantage."
~ Joint statement signed by over 40 developing country NGOs

"There are 800 million hungry people in the world; 34,000 children starve to death every day. There are those who consider this a tragedy, and then there are the biotech companies and their countless PR firms, who seem to consider it a flawless hook for product branding. It is an insult of the highest and most grotesque order to turn those who live from day to day into the centerpiece of an elaborate lie. ...the companies who make [GE foods], and the flacks who hawk their falsehoods, offer us a new definition of depravity, a new standard to plunge for in our race to care least, want more, and divest ourselves of all shame."
~ Michael Manville, Welcome to the Spin Machine

Tommy Pettersson
Article by Tommy Pettersson
Tommy Pettersson is a well known internet developer and the founder of Fair Trade Community. Fair Trade Community is a community where people can get facts and information, meet and discuss how they can help to improve the lives of some of the poorest people in the world. Learn more at Fair Trade Community.

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