human rights & business (and a few other things)

Blog Series: Colonisation in, of and through Business and Human Rights

This blog post was authored by Dr Dalia Palombo – Tilburg University.

The day I finally sent the last version of my article Transnational Business and Human Rights Litigation: An Imperialist Project? | Human Rights Law Review | Oxford Academic ( to the Human Rights Law Review, I wanted to forget about anything related to human rights and imperialism for a while. Thus, I turned to my post-submission period reading list, filled with interesting articles I did not have the opportunity to read during the writing process. The first article that sparked my attention was Betting on the Wrong (Trojan) Horse: CSR and the Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights | Business and Human Rights Journal | Cambridge Core by Florian Wettstein. I started reading it and shivered when I realised the article analyses “[..t]he colonization of CSR by neoliberal free market ideology”. Not only could I not help ending up again on the topic of colonisation and business and human rights, but the illuminating article also reminded me that, as much as I spent countless hours analysing imperialism in business and human rights, there was a very different way to understand the topic. It could also be approached from the economic corporate capture, rather than legal transnationality, perspective. I felt that the interdisciplinarity of the topic deserved further investigation.

Thus, when I joined the Netherlands Network of Human Rights Research as a coordinator of the Business and Human Rights Working Group, I discussed the idea with my colleagues, dr. C (Chiara) Macchi – WUR , Jindan-Karena Mann | University of Amsterdam –, and TI (Tamara) Horbachevska – WUR, and it became clear my interest was not isolated. Thanks to funding from the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research and the Department of Public Law and Governance (PLG) | Tilburg University, we were able to launch a call for abstracts for a symposium. The volume and quality of the abstracts received, as well as the widespread participation in the actual Symposium: Colonisation in, of and through Business & Human Rights | Tilburg University, were impressive. At the end of this long journey, we felt the need to continue our collaboration on the subject. In cooperation with N (Nadia) Bernaz PhD – WUR, we are now launching the Blog series Colonisation in, of and through Business and Human Rights on Rights as Usual | human rights & business (and a few other things). The series will run for a few months, publishing 2-3 blog posts per month. To kick off the series, we have three blog posts from Florian Wettstein (keynote speaker), Nazrin Huseinzade (symposium speaker) and myself.

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