For Human Rights Beyond Borders

Human Rights have been locked up behind domestic bars to prevent their universal application to globalization and its much needed regulation. Extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) unlock human rights.

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The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has recently made recommendations to both Spain and New Zealand pertaining to their ETOs. 

The Committee expressed concern that Spanish legislation does not define the legal responsibility which corporations domiciled under their jurisdiction may have for human rights abuses they commit abroad. The Committee therefore recommends Spain to strengthen its normative framework as to ensure the legal responsibility of corporations for...

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The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has reaffirmed in its Advisory Opinion OC-23/17 the extraterritorial obligation of States to protect and guarantee the human right to a healthy environment (Article 11 Protocol of San Salvador).

The advisory opinion is an answer to a request from Colombia which wanted the Court to elaborate on States' human rights obligations in relation to the environment, in the context of a dispute with Nicaragua concerning an oil drilling project in the Caribbean.  ...

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Canada announced this week that it is creating an ombudsperson with the responsibility to monitor and investigate alllegations of human rights abuses linked to the activities of Canadian corporations operating abroad. The "Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprises (CORE)" will initially focus on corporations in the mining, oil and gas, and garment sector, but will then expand its scope of focus to all other business sectors.

This independent body replaces Canada's "Extractive Sector...

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The Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) published this week its recommendations (officially called “concluding observations”) to Norway which it reviewed during its 68th session. These include recommendations with regards to Norway’s ETOs in the context of its climate and energy policies.

The Committee expressed concern at the State’s policy on oil and gas extraction in the Artic. Under the heading “Extraterritorial State Obligations” in para. 14,...

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The handbook and toolkit “Human Rights beyond Borders: How to hold States accountable for extraterritorial violations” aims to serve as a practical guide for human rights advocates and social movements in monitoring and holding States accountable on their compliance with extraterritorial obligations (ETOs).

The intention of the handbook is to make the Maastricht Principles on the ETOs of States more accessible and relevant to civil society by illustrating, with concrete examples, how...

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Governments in the process of negotiating the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) must ensure that the trade deal’s provisions protect human rights. That was the message from parliamentarians and other participants who convened in Jakarta last week to discuss the RCEP and its implications for the region’s citizens during a two-day dialogue organized by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ), and the ETO Consortium.

The meeting...

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Building on its 2011 Statement on the obligations of States Parties regarding the corporate sector and economic, social and cultural rights, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights released last week General Comment No. 24 which intends to clarify States’ obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in the context of business activities.

With the issue of business and human rights currently being addressed in multiple fora and...

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The 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was opened on May 6, 2017, in Yokohama, Japan by its President Takehiko Nakao. In the week May of May 1, people in over 140 locations spread over 21 states in India, protested against the policies and projects of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) highlighting the negative impacts of ADB’s lending practices in hydropower projects, smart cities, industrial corridors, projects in the coastal areas, agriculture and infrastructure projects....

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The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights held last month a Day of General Discussion on its recently drafted General Comment No. 24 on State Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities. The draft General Comment includes a comprehensive section on States’ extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) spanning from para. 30 to 40, which details States’ ETOs to respect (para. 34), protect (para. 35-38) and fulfill...

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