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Europe and Central Asia

Middle East and North Africa

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Children’s Rights

Women’s Human Rights


The OECD Anti-Corruption Model

One approach could be modeled on the response of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to the problem of corporate bribery of government officials. Such corruption once also had a "race to the bottom" dynamic. Governments were reluctant to prohibit it for fear of putting their corporations at a competitive disadvantage. In 1997, the OECD decided that a collective approach was required. It adopted anti-corruption standards and mandated that all OECD governments -- the principal industrialized governments --criminalize violations. A special OECD working group was assigned responsibility for monitoring and reporting on governmental compliance. By setting a common, enforceable standard, the OECD helped undercut fears that bribery of foreign officials was necessary for corporations to keep up with the competition.

A similar global approach could help enforce human rights in the global economy. National governments could be asked to adopt a prescribed enforcement regime to ensure that all corporations operating in or from their territory avoid complicity in serious rights violations. Such a regime would allow corporations and governments from the North and South to respect these rights in the commercial realm without fear of placing themselves at a competitive disadvantage, thus undercutting the "race to the bottom." (The OECD in June adopted voluntary Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, but these lack the compulsory nature of its anti-corruption regime.)


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Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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  The Global Economy
  A Human Rights Framework
  Need for Stronger Institutions
  Voluntary Codes of Conduct
  The OECD Anti-Corruption
  The U.S.-Jordan Trade Pact
  International Financial
  From Voluntarism to
  North-South Collusion
  International Justice
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Human Rights Defenders


International Criminal Court Ratification Campaign

Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

The Campaign to Ban Landmines


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