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Corporations must honor human rights, Vatican envoy tells UN

Catholic World News - June 12, 2014

The Vatican’s representative at UN headquarters in Geneva has welcomed a new document calling upon multi-national corporations to recognize and respect human rights.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said that “businesses have to recognize human rights as the binding framework of their activities.” He reminded his UN colleagues of frequent statements by Pope Francis that “profit cannot be the only rationale of business activity.”

Multi-national corporations can sometimes choose locations where laws are most favorable to their profitable activities, without considering the rights of workers, customers, and the local community, the archbishop said. He remarked that this “in-between” status is “rightly one of the concerns of the international community.”

“The death of over 1,100 innocent workers in the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh last year was egregious but unfortunately the very tip of an iceberg,” Archbishop Tomasi said. “The violation of human rights in the workplace is a daily life experience for tens of thousands of people across the world especially in jurisdictions with lax enforcement of laws and regulations.”

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