ICAR Welcome’s Introduction of the Alien Tort Statute Clarification Act (ATSCA) in the U.S. Senate
(May 6 | Washington, DC) – The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) applauds Senators Richard Durban and Sherrod Brown for introducing the Alien Tort Statute Clarification Act (ATSCA). If passed, the bill would clarify that the ATS applies to any defendants with personal jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of where the activity in question took place. This is a significant step toward ensuring accountability for international law violations in U.S. courts. Through several opinions, the Supreme Court has greatly limited the scope and application of the ATS, allowing large corporations to exploit workers and communities around the world with impunity. The ATSCA would ensure that the ATS can again be a powerful tool for holding those responsible for human rights abuses accountable.
“Small American businesses drive the US economy and have to compete with corporate actors that cut corners and engage in human rights abuses. The status quo puts businesses that are doing their best to operate ethically at a disadvantage. This amendment to the ATS would prevent large corporations from turning a blind eye to exploitation and abuses in their global operations” says ICAR Executive Director, David McKean. “Human rights abuses never have a place in a successful business model, and victims of such abuses by corporations should have access to US courts.”
The Alien Tort Statute (28 U.S.C. § 1350) is a 1786 law which provides U.S. courts with jurisdiction over civil claims by non-U.S. persons for violations of the law of nations. While the ATS has been a valuable resource for victims of corporate human rights abuse, Supreme Court decisions have chipped away its extraterritorial applicability, making it more and more difficult for litigators to bring ATS cases for human rights abuses which American corporations commit abroad. The Supreme Court’s decision in the Nestle & Cargill v. Doe case last June was yet another decision weakening the Alien Tort Statute’s applicability to extraterritorial corporate human rights abuses, leaving victims of these abuses with little access to remedy in U.S. courts. The ATSCA would amend the ATS to clarify that it applies to corporate human rights abuses which take place extraterritorially, allowing victims of human rights abuses committed by corporations under U.S. jurisdiction to hold those corporations accountable in U.S. courts. Multinational corporations should not be allowed to benefit and succeed as a result of exploitation.
To read the official statement, please click here.