Although Transnational Corporations (TNCs) enjoy rights alongside sovereign States, such as the right to arbitrate in international investment disputes, the idea of holding them to account for alleged human violations has been elusive. While there are renewed eff orts at the UN Human Rights Council towards an international legally binding instrument aimed at holding TNCs accountable for violations of international human rights standards, this article explores and analyses the usefulness of a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative (MSI) approach in this process. Accordingly, it seeks to reformulate the debate on the accountability of TNCs by affi rming a MSI engagement as a workable complementary process, which – although it is being downgraded in most literature on TNCs and human rights accountability – might nevertheless provide best possible outcomes for such a heated subject. Drawing on examples from the Kimberley Process and the global fi ght against confl ict diamonds, it will be argued that despite that fact that MSIs are not an entire replacement of hard-law solutions to global regulatory challenges, they do in principle off er a legitimate and useful approach to the human rights accountability of TNCs.

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Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Tamo, A. (2016). New Thinking on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights: Towards a Multi-Stakeholder Approach. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 34(2), 147–174. Retrieved from