Business and Human Rights
Level of Study
Objectives and Content
Business has significant impacts on human rights. Companies create jobs and pay taxes that provide governments with resources to create the infrastructure needed for people to realize and assert their human rights. However, corporate conduct can also adversely affect the rights of workers, consumers and communities.
This course provides a better appreciation of interplay between business and human rights, including business impacts, positive and adverse, regardless of corporate intent. The course does this by examining international human rights, ethical, and legal standards, duties, and expectations of companies. Focus will be on the dilemmas of operating in spaces where local standards and rules may vary from and sometimes contradict global standards or policies. The course will also explore emerging initiatives designed to deal with human rights and business, and assess the effectiveness of voluntary corporate codes of conduct and emerging norms and standards. The course deals with contemporary concerns and specific details of the issues covered and components included in the course will be determined and announced early summer.
The course will enable students to develop corporate strategies consistent with international human rights standards and to identify policies and practices that respect and do not undermine human rights.
A candidate who has completed his or her qualification should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:
- Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of human rights standards and of how they apply to companies.
- Demonstrate a specialised understanding of the human rights challenges facing companies.
- Understand how to identify if practises are consistent with human rights standards.
- Analyse why corporate conduct arouses suspicion in many parts of the world.
- Discuss and assess possible solutions regarding the human rights challenges facing companies.
- Develop strong, sophisticated approaches based on assessment methods and tools companies use in order to ensure respect for human rights.
- Understand the human rights challenges companies face.
- Communicate and evaluate these challenges on a detailed and sophisticated level.
- Explore various options of engagement with human rights, including with organisations that may be opposed to certain companies
Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor degree or the equivalent.
Access to the Course
Open for students fulfilling the admission criteria.
Teaching and learning methods
A mixture of lectures, seminars, written presentations. All lectures are held online using Zoom. We record, edit and make all videos available for the students as soon as possible after each weekend gathering. These recordings along with all lecture relevant materials will be made available through the course pages at the student portal - MittUiB.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Attendance at lectures is not mandatory - considering time-zone constraints. Each student must pass a written presentation. The presentation is to be written on one of the subjects covered by this course. The presentation should be a minimum of 500 and a maximum of 1000 words. Ordinary academic writing requirements apply.
Forms of Assessment
Take-home exam of maximum 4500 words, submitted within a month/4 weeks after it has been handed out.
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
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