Corporate Human Rights Abuses

Since our founding in 1966, the Center has pioneered legal strategies to ensure that courtroom doors remain open to those with the least access to justice. In few instances is this more difficult than when our clients are seeking justice for human rights violations committed or facilitated by a powerful corporation. Starting in the 1990s, the Center began expanding the use of the Alien Tort Statute, one of our signature legal tools, to litigate these corporate cases. A long line of cases has followed since our first victory of the kind in Doe v. Unocal. Standing by our courageous clients, we have since taken on corporations like Shell, Chevron, and Caterpillar for gross human rights violations committed outside the United States, and have supported efforts to ensure corporate accountability by filing amicus briefs in U.S. courts and contributing to corporate accountability efforts at the international level. Our most recent litigation and advocacy efforts in this area have focused on the role of U.S.-based private military contractors in the unlawful killing of civilians by Blackwater in Iraq and in the torture of civilians at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.