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A uniting element: the challenge of integrating corporations and other stakeholders in the realm of human rights

This brief analysis of the soft law dimensions of the UNGPs supports the assumption that the new regulative approach they comprise challenges the classic notion of the dominant international law framework in general and its soft law understanding in particular.52 Even though both interpretations of the function of soft law the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises’ (UN Doc. A/HRC/4/035), 9 Feb. 2007, para. 88.

  • 46 Jagers in Deva and Bilchitz (2013): 301. 47 RUggie (2014): 9.
  • 4® For an instructive overview of the ongoing discussion see e.g.: P. Zumbansen, ‘Law and Legal Pluralism: Hybridity in Transnational Governance’, in Regulatory Hybridization in the Transnational Sphere, ed. P. Jurcys, P. F. Kjaer, and R. Yatsunami (Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013): 49—70 at 60—2 and J. Klabbers, ‘Of Round Pegs and Square Holes: International Law and the Private Sector’, in Regulatory Hybridization in the Transnational Sphere, ed. P. Jurcys, P. F. Kjaer, and R. Yatsunami (Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013): 29^8 at 45—7.
  • 49 So far—by Oct. 2014—the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, and Spain have launched their national action plans. See: .
  • 5° A current example can be seen in the directive on disclosure on non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies and groups, adopted on 15 Apr. 2014 by the plenary of the European Parliament.
  • 51 Jagers in Deva and Bilchitz (2013): 299f.
  • 52 For further details see also the chapter by Stephanie Lagoutte in this volume.

instruments within the UNGPs lead in partly different—possibly even conflicting— directions, one important common challenge has ultimately emerged: the need to address non-state actor responsibilities in the arena of international human rights law.53 Faced with this problem, the UNGPs necessarily enter the dogmatic minefield of the actor/subject debate in general international law. Section 3 will demonstrate that, as with the variety of functional approaches to soft law in the UNGPs, there is no single strategy within the framework for the integration of corporations and other non-state actors in the international human rights arena, but rather a pot-pourri of divergent actions.

 
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