Business and Human Rights: Just a “Soft” Transformation?

This paper looks at how international standards on business and human rights (B&HR) are beginning to shape national policies and regional human rights law in Latin America. It gives examples taken from national action plans on B&HR that try to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011), and also considers relevant reports and cases of the Inter-American System of Human Rights, and the impact of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. In doing so, it shows a considerable harmonization of standards, which begin to impact domestic regulation while the presence of binding instruments that embody obligations for companies is only incipient. State obligations on B&HR, however, are clearly defined, although a binding treaty is still far away. Thus, to what extent does the transformation towards increased corporate accountability for human rights violations take place at the international level? To what extent (if at all) does it occur domestically?