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November 30, 2012

How to Encourage U.S. Companies to Respect Human Rights

When U.S. companies abuse or facilitate violations of human rights abroad, they undermine U.S. national interests in advancing security, economic development, and human rights. For example, U.S. security, economic, and other interests suffer when American companies sell surveillance technology to repressive regimes, are complicit in censorship by foreign governments, engage in unfair labor practices in foreign countries, and when private security contractors commit criminal acts in the name of the U.S. government. In the short term, these situations may create crises that require engagement by the president and other high-level U.S. officials. In the long term, they undermine the credibility and effectiveness of U.S. efforts to advance human rights globally. The United States has a strong interest, therefore, in seeing that American companies protect human rights in their international operations.