The distinction between the obligations of public and private entities, and their relation to law, is well known in classical political and legal theory. States have a duty that is undertaken through law; enterprises have a responsibility that is embedded in their governance. These fundamental divisions form part of the current international efforts to institutionalize human rights-related norms on and through states and enterprises, and most notably through the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. The problems of conforming to evolving norms becomes more difficult where states project their authority through commercial enterprises.
Larry C. Backer,
The Human Rights Obligations of State-Owned Enterprises: Emerging Conceptual Structures and Principles in National and International Law and Policy,
50 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vjtl/vol50/iss4/1