Traditionally, human rights law (treaties in particular) applies only to the territories of states that have ratified such treaties, and only states are legally bound by these agreements. Yet, as a result of processes of globalization and the conduct of states, corporate actors and international organizations, including their involvement in land and resource grabbing, increasingly have effects beyond national borders. Does international human rights law also apply in such circumstances? This has been defined as the extraterritorial scope of international human rights law. The Maastricht Principles on the Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2011) have provided a sound legal framework drawn from international (human rights) law. Meanwhile, the rights of future generations remain a blind spot in international human rights law to date. Yet illegitimate appropriation and exploitation of different types of resources does not only affect the human rights of members of present generations. This chapter therefore discusses the question what the contribution of international human rights law can be in protecting the human rights of future generations. It analyses the role of the precautionary principle and the different types of domestic and extraterritorial human rights obligations states have to guarantee a sustainable and dignified life for members of future generations.
by Fons Coomans, Rolf Künnemann and Andreas Neef, in the Routledge Handbook of Global Land and Resource Grabbing.