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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Transnational Corporations and Human Rights

Timothy H. Holtz, MD, MPH, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1525 Clifton Road, Suite 108, Atlanta, GA 30322, 404-639-5218, tholtz@igc.org, Thomas H. Gassert, MD, MSc, Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, 585 Massachusetts Ave., Acton, MA 01720, and Maureen McCue, MD, PhD, University of Iowa, 270 International Center, Iowa City, IA 52242.

Background: Transnational corporations (TNCs) can exert a profound impact on global human rights and health, both through their control of key industries, and also as beneficiaries of international finance agreements. Clear international human rights standards on TNC activities are lacking. Our objective is to discuss the impact of TNCs on health and human rights and the need for global accountability.

Methods: Literature review, case reports, and NGO publications.

Results: The economic activity of TNCs can have a substantial and wide-ranging impact on human rights and health, especially in developing countries. TNCs can direct investment, trade, and labor supply in poorer developing nations. These activities have both direct and indirect beneficial and detrimental consequences on the health of people and the local environment. This is also achieved by the increased control of goods and markets and of scientific research, and readiness to quickly shift investments to take advantage of cheaper labor and relaxed regulations. With the current climate of globalization it is a challenge for poorer developing nations to secure health and environmental protection, good health information, and fair recourse when harmed from TNCs.

Recommendations: Public health professionals are increasingly challenged to act to help implement regulatory policies, and to conduct appropriate research on health outcomes, that would hold TNCs accountable and that would assure health and environmental protection. Specific recommendations will be offered for all stakeholders to help secure global upward harmonization and uniformity for protection of health and human rights.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Human Rights, Developing Countries

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Trade Agreements and Trade Issues Affecting Health in Developing Countries

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA