1 The state obligation to protect human rights

1.1 Human rights in Finnish legislation [page 13-14]

“…on an international level states implement human rights conventions differently. This affects international business activities and their regulation. The international preparation and development of the UN principles deal with the legal regulation of cross-border business activities. The concept of human rights is very extensive, and the creation of more binding regulation for non-state actors (such as companies) would require specifying their obligations in relation to the obligations of states. The challenges of such regulation are related to features such as the general definition of the criminal liability of legal entities, the territorial application of criminal legislation, protection of the accused, definition of the civil liability for damages, functionality of legal redress, and territorial limitations of jurisdictions. Due to these challenges, the matter requires that further examination and analyses be made on both the national and international level.

For continuing both the national and international discussion, it would be essential to further clarify features such as the applicability of national legislation to international business activities. For this reason, the working group proposes that as a follow-up measure,

  • a report be commissioned on Finnish legislation in relation to the regulation and guidance of international business activities, particularly to prevent serious human rights violations and to remedy any existing violations.
    Principal responsible party: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Employment and the Economy and Ministry for Foreign Affairs, schedule by mid-2015.”