Summary: In this capstone, students would work prepare and present a report to the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the U.S. Government's principal bureau for the promotion of international human rights. In particular, the Capstone team would assess and make recommendations surrounding implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The report would also be made available to officials at the United Nations.
Description: The question of the business community's responsibility to respect human rights has long been an issue of concern within the advocacy community and among governments committed to the promotion of human rights. In particular, the international business community has come under scrutiny over issues such as unfair labor practices and acquiescence in foreign government policies that result in the restriction of labor and other rights. In June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed a set of Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. The Guiding Principles establish a set of standards for governments and corporations, and also address the issue of access to remedies. Moreover, other governments, including the United States, have undertaken efforts in support of implementation. But the efforts have been uneven and less-than substantial to date. This capstone would examine and assess the Principles and their implementation and provide a report to the State Department, consulting with experts in Minnesota (Professor David Weissbrodt of the Law School was involved in this effort early on), in Washington, and around the world. The capstone would be directed by Kathleen Motzenbecker, who has worked for several international organizations involved in democratization, human rights and humanitarian issues, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration, the UN Development Program, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
The State Department's point of contact for the capstone will be Scott Busby, who is a senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State, and has also worked at the White House, the Department of Justice and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Class Schedule for PA8081| | Section Statusfor PA8081 |
Grading basis/credits: A-F only, 3 credit(s), max credits 6
Prereq: Grad major in public affairs or public policy or [urban and regional planning] or [science, technology, and environment policy] or development practice, completion of core courses or instr consent