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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Over the past 15 years, extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) for economic, social and cultural rights have become operational. This can be seen most notably with the 2011 Maastricht Principles and their legal commentary and, more recently, in the context of governments jointly drafting a human rights treaty on TNCs and other business enterprises. ETOs are also inspirational in that they strengthen those elements of human rights that are needed to make them effective in international policy...

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The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) has addressed in a recent report States’ human rights obligations with regard to extraction, exploitation and development activities, noting that many of these projects are implemented in lands and territories historically occupied by indigenous and Afro-descendent communities. The obligations of host States (where the project takes place) and as well as home States (where the business has its headquarters) are outlined in the Commission’s...

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Both the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee), in charge of monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), have in their recent General Comments/ Recommendations further specified the extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) States have under...

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Today, the Human Rights Council considers the report of the first session of the Open-ended Working Group on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights, which took place from July 6-10, 2015, and deliberated on the nature, scope and content of the future treaty. The report will be presented by the Chair-Rapporteur María Fernanda Espinosa.

The report picks up on several of the ETOs-related inputs that were made during the <link...</span>

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In a public statement released on the eve of the gathering of trade ministers in Auckland, New Zealand to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Alfred de Zayas, UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, called on governments not to sign the TPP unless provisions are included “to guarantee the regulatory space of States”. Mr. de Zayas urged the parties to the agreement to reaffirm their human rights obligations and their pledges to...

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Civil society organisations, social movements, academia and government representatives met in Jakarta from January 21 to 22 to explore the role that human rights and in particular States’ extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) could play in strengthening resistance against an international investment regime that protects corporate profits over people and severely curtails States’ ability to comply with their human rights obligations.

Organised jointly by Indonesia for Global Justice, the ETO...

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During its 57th Session held last November, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted General Comment No. 3 on the right to life (recognized in Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights) which is intended to provide States, National Human Rights Institutions and civil society with guidance on the range of application of this article of the Charter. Paragraph 14 of the General Comment outlines the extraterritorial obligations of States with regards to the...

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States’ extraterritorial obligations were at the forefront of discussions at the 4th annual UN Business and Human Rights Forum, which took place from November 16 to 18 in Geneva. During panel discussions surrounding the current process towards a binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises, different panelists and participants stressed the need to integrate ETOs under the future treaty. During the session “Challenges and opportunities of a treaty to address...

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Last week, on October 29, the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 came into force after a two year long process of discussions inside the parliamentary and public arena. Section 54 of the Act has an extraterritorial effect requiring large businesses to publically disclose information and provide evidence of measures they are taking to tackle slavery and human trafficking inside their supply chain. This supply chains provision has been hailed by the UK Home Secretary Theresa May as “groundbreaking” and...

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Civil society organisations have expressed concern that the British government in supporting the growth of private schools across Africa and South Asia could be violating the human right to education. International and British organisations as well as teachers’ unions have joined campaigners from countries including Kenya, Uganda and Ghana to condemn the increased use of British aid money to support for-profit primary schools, in particular so-called ‘low-fee’ private schools, which are fuelling...

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