U.S. Courts put Corporations on Notice over Human Rights
10 Apr 09 | AFP
A spate of US court cases is lighting a fire under the feet of powerful corporations doing business in countries that commit human rights abuses, analysts said Thursday.
General Motors and IBM are among the latest in the firing line after a federal court ruled Wednesday that apartheid victims can sue the corporate giants for aiding the former white South African regime.
Next month Royal Dutch/Shell will be in court, defending itself against charges of complicity in horrific government abuses against Nigeria’s Ogoni people, including the 1995 execution of renowned activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Other cases include claims from Iraqis against controversial US-based contractors like Blackwater (now known as Xe), accused of aiding and abetting abuses during the conflict in Iraq.
In each instance, victims are taking advantage of a US law known as the Alien Tort Claims Act that requires companies with a substantial presence in the United States to obey US law — everywhere in the world. >>>