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Abstract

Orthodox discourse on business and human rights tends to conceive of the human rights responsibility of corporations in terms of minimising the negative human rights impacts of their own activities, as opposed to exerting a net positive effect on human rights. On 15 August 2010, however, Sri Lanka's access to the EU's Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)+ trade incentives was withdrawn for reasons relating to that country's human rights record, creating an actual positive economic incentive for Sri Lankan businesses to actively engage the government on its human rights record. In this context, the author explores the potential for the Sri Lankan garment industry, which is highly dependent on exports to the EU, to effect positive human rights change in Sri Lanka.