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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At its 40th Session, held in Geneva from February 25 to March 22, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Final Report of the Universal Periodical Review (UPR) Working Group on China. China had participated in the third cycle of the UPR which took place in November 2018. The report contains two recommendations related to the extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) of China which have been made during the UPR and accepted by the State.

China accepted to «promote measures that ensure that...

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The 4th session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights took place from the 15-19 October. The session evolved around the negotiation of a “zero draft” legally binding instrument as well as a draft optional protocol presented by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the working group prior to the session. The session therefore represented the first moment of negotiations in the process, with...

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During its 64th session, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) reviewed the 6th periodic report of Germany. In its concluding observations, the CESCR made several recommendations pertaining to Germany’s ETOs.

The Committee is concerned at the exclusively voluntary nature of the corporate due diligence obligations set out in the German National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights regarding respect for human rights and the lack of monitoring mechanisms in this regard...

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The recently appointed Spanish Minister of Justice, Dolores Delgado, announced this week her government's intention to re-establish legislation in force between 1985 and 2009 which provided for universal jurisdiction for certain international crimes. Since then, this legislation has been restricted during successive governments meaning that today Spanish courts only have jurisdiction for cases of crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide if these are directed against a Spanish citizen or...

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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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