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Ruggie's Rules09:59
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Fire fighters try to contain flames from a burning oil pipeline in Ijeododo outskirt of Lagos, Nigeria Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The oil pipeline belonging to Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation exploded near Nigeria's largest city as thieves tried to siphon oil from it Monday. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Fire fighters try to contain flames from a burning oil pipeline in Ijeododo outskirt of Lagos, Nigeria Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. The oil pipeline belonging to Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation exploded near Nigeria's largest city as thieves tried to siphon oil from it Monday. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Human rights advocates are on high alert this week, as a landmark Supreme Court decision is expected to be handed down at any moment.

The case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, centers on a group of Nigerian plaintiffs who claim that the Shell Oil company co-operated with the Nigerian government to brutally crush peaceful resistance to aggressive oil development in the Ogoni Niger River Delta in the 1990s.

The Supreme Court's decision will have major ramifications for whether a corporation can be held legally accountable for crimes against humanity in a territory outside of the United States.

John Ruggie is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and he's written about this case in his new book is "Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights".

In 2005, Professor Ruggie was appointed as the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Business and Human Rights. He was tasked with proposing measures to strengthen the human rights performance of the business sector around the world. He came up with a set of guiding principles, which became known as "Ruggie's Rules".

These rules serve as a road map for ensuring responsible global corporate practices and are widely considered to be the most comprehensive and authoritative global standard in the area of business and human rights.

Guest

John Ruggie, Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and author of the new book, "Just Business: Multinational Corporations and Human Rights".

Professor Ruggie will be discussing his new book at Harvard Book Store at 7pm tonight.

This segment aired on March 4, 2013.

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