“This is it — they are going to arrest us all and execute us. All for Shell.” This statement was made by Ken Saro-Wiwa, a leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSAP) two weeks before he was arrested in May of 1994. Highlighting Shell’s role in directing and arming the Nigerian military to repress dissent toward corporate activities, MOSAP gained international attention and motivated anti-shell campaigns across the world. Over the last decade, similar incidents of corporate misconduct in India, China, Colombia, Chad and Sudan have led to a growing debate surrounding the responsibility and accountability of corporations operating outside their home states. This paper seeks to address the issue of human rights in the era of increasing globalization of capital and exterritorial operations of corporations, particularly in zones of conflict. The existing governance structure for corporations will be evaluated at a national and international level and voluntary codes of conduct and multilateral efforts at establishing business principles will be reviewed. Evidence will be summarized to suggest that national legislation and voluntary corporate codes of conduct are currently an inadequate means of protecting human rights. In order to improve business practices, international efforts must create an external system of compliance and monitoring which ensures corporations adopt conflict-sensitive policies which positively contribute to peace, prosperity and stability for all their stakeholders.

Corporate Crime in a Globalized Economy