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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IFIs, Development Cooperation

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Both directly and indirectly International Organisations contribute to negatively affecting the worldwide enjoyment of individuals’ Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs). The failure of States to take into account the human rights implications of those activities in which they participate via international organisations – be they in the shape of project finance or conditionality of development aid – has severe international consequences and repercussions. Due to the multi-functionality of international finance and development aid, the related human rights violations take various shapes.

International organisations falsely project an image of immunity to human rights violations committed by them. In reality, ETOs specify the obligations of the key decision-making States acting through international organisations and their accountability for the abuses of ESCRs by international organisations.

The Maastricht Principles reiterate the obligations of States to take deliberate, concrete and targeted steps, separately, and jointly through international cooperation, to create an international enabling environment conducive to the universal fulfilment of ESCRs, including in matters relating to finance and development cooperation (ETOP 29). As members of international organisations, States remain responsible for their own conduct in relation to their human rights obligations within their territory and extraterritorially. Moreover, when transferring competences to, or participating in, international organisations, States must ensure that the relevant organisation acts consistently with the international human rights obligation of that State. (ETOP 15).