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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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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On the eve of the second round of negotiations of the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), civil society organizations from Indonesia, the ASEAN region and Europe called for a moratorium of the trade negotiations until a broad consultation to map potential impacts of the agreement, including on human rights, is undertaken with civil society.

In a joint letter presented to the Government of Indonesia and the European Commission, civil society organisations voice...

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The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) convened its 65th session from the 24th October to the 18th November 2016 during which it considered the periodic reports of Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Burundi, Canada, Estonia, Honduras, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

In its recently published concluding observations to the periodic reports of Canada and Switzerland, the Committee addressed recommendations to both States regarding their...

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Are human rights obligations breached by an intergovernmental organization or its governing States, when it tells a government to cut its public services? Can the obligations under the right to food be left completely to a State that is adversely affected by the climate impact of other countries? What about the human rights obligations of States whose powerful corporations can displace people abroad from their lands, because these people’s government does not protect them - being in the hands of...

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In the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement countries agreed to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. The Agreement creates a framework for action, including a reporting mechanism and periodic global stocktaking. The agreement has near universal support from States and mentions human rights in its preamble – but it does not go beyond...

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During its 58th session, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) released a statement on Public debt, austerity measures and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The statement was prompted by the Committee frequently being faced with State parties unable to fulfil their obligations under the Covenant because of the “adoption of fiscal consolidation programmes, including structural adjustment programmes and austerity programmes, as a condition...

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During its recent 58th Session, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) made several clear recommendations to France, Sweden and the United Kingdom with regards to their extraterritorial obligations related to ESC rights. These recommendations touch upon a wide range of areas where ETOs apply, such as trade and investment agreements, States’ obligations within intergovernmental organizations, tax policies, international development cooperation, and the regulation of...

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A coalition of civil society organizations, which include The Global Justice Clinic, the Center for Economic and Social Rights, the Tax Justice Network and Berne Declaration have successfully convinced the CEDAW to examine the impact of Switzerland's tax and financial secrecy policy on the realization of women's rights in foreign countries.

This issue is therefore on the Committee's List of Issues for its upcoming review of Switzerland during its 65th Session in October: "Please further...

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