Corporate and corporate-like actors and children's rights: Obligations and responsibility in theory and in practice

Date: 12 December 2017

Venue: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus, Grauwzusters, Promotiezaal - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen (route: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus)

Time: 5:00 PM

Principal investigator: Prof Wouter Vandenhole

Short description: PhD defence Gamze Erdem Türkelli - Law & Development research group


Children theoretically enjoy the rights as enshrined in international covenants and conventions, including the almost universally ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet, in practice, such enjoyment is strongly impacted by the growing reach of economic actors inter alia through global supply chains and financial markets and multiplying consumption pressure on world’s resources, exacerbated by power vacuums and a lack of accountability mechanisms at the State level.

The present study seeks to uncover the ways in which children’s rights obligations that befall upon nation States can and should be complemented by the obligations of ‘corporate and corporate-like actors’, actors that embody or share the corporate form, functions and relations to varying degrees, and how responsibility for children’s rights violations should be attributed to and distributed among the different types of actors (State and otherwise) when they occur.

In attempting to tackle this real-life challenge by proposing a de lege ferenda normative framework on obligations and the polycentric governance of responsibility, the study incorporates three real-life case illustrations on cotton production in Uzbekistan, the construction of a large hydropower project in Uganda and the exploitation of 3TG in the DRC to showcase the existing normative gaps and to evaluate the state-of-the-art in legal scholarship and practice as regards children’s rights obligations beyond the State.