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How can businesses operate profitably and sustainably while ensuring that they are applying human rights? It is possible to apply human rights while at the same time decreasing cost and making human rights contribute to profits. Yet business efforts alone are insufficient, and states must possess sufficient regulatory power to work together with businesses and investors – not only to improve human rights but also to foster development more broadly. This textbook, the first of its kind, explores all aspects of the links between business operations and human rights. Its twenty-five chapters guide readers systematically through all the particular features of this intersection, integrating legal and business approaches. Thematic sections cover conceptual and regulatory frameworks, remedies and dispute resolution, and practical enforcement tools. Ideal for courses in business, law, policy and international development, the book is also essential reading for managers in large corporations.
Although fair trial guarantees have always been recognised as constituting an integral aspect of international arbitral proceedings, this has largely been viewed through the lens of civil procedure rather than as a matter of public law and human rights. This state of affairs has further been compounded by the confidential nature of arbitration and the relative scarcity of set aside (annulment) proceedings before the courts of the seat of arbitration on the grounds of unequal treatment, and before human rights bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, it has always been difficult to reconcile contractual freedom and the advantages offered by arbitration with equal treatment and fair trial claims. This article demonstrates the existence of a set of general principles concerning the meaning and content of equal treatment, which are consistent with its commercial (and civil procedure) and human rights dimensions. The basis of this conclusion is Article 18 of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, as consistently interpreted and adapted by local laws and judgments, arbitral statutes and determinations by the European Court of Human Rights.
A comprehensive discussion of the UN’s human rights work and institutions is an infinite task given that every atom of the Organisation is engaged in one way or another in the promotion or protection of rights. As a result, a large part of this chapter is devoted to the examination of the principal human rights institution, the Human Rights Council (HRC), and the various mechanisms operating under its wing. This includes a discussion of the universal periodic review (UPR), the HRC’s complaint procedure, as well as its so-called special procedures. The chapter then goes on to analyse the important human rights dimension of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UNSC, since both possess authority to take direct action against violations, in addition to their standard-setting capacity. Institutions that have produced important human rights work, but whose mandate is otherwise peripheral to human rights, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), are mentioned in this chapter but are not extensively analysed. Equally, space precludes us from examining specialised agencies such as UN International Children’s (Emergency) Fund (UNICEF) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
International human rights law is part of public international law and shares a number of its features, including sources, obligations (primary rules) and state responsibility (secondary rules). While international human rights law has formed within the broader setting of international law, it has developed distinctive features. Traditional international law was an order based on the sovereign interests of states as its sole subjects. In contrast, international human rights law is characterised by its emphasis on common interests that reflect the fundamental values of the international legal order. This value-based approach is evident in the concept of jus cogens, or peremptory norm, and the notion of erga omnes, obligations owed to the international community as a whole. Undoubtedly, international human rights law can form an important component of a new international order or international constitutionalism. However, unilateralism, selectivity and fragmentation, in addition to challenges of effective implementation, are restraining factors that may slow down, if not undermine, ‘constitutional’ developments at the international level. This chapter examines these dynamics and discusses the key building blocks of international (human rights) law: its sources; its rights and obligations and the scope of their application; and its implementation as well as state responsibility and enforcement.
As will become evident through the course of this chapter, development in its human rights context is primarily a value that translates into individual and communal well-being. This well-being may be linked to industrial or other financial development, although the correlation between the two is neither self-evident nor necessary. If this right to well-being is to make a difference in the lives of people, whether in poor or rich nations, it must be susceptible to quantifiable measurement through which one is able to assess its progress and realisation. In the last decade experts have developed a list of detailed indicators which allow us to assess well-being more accurately. At the same time, wealthy nations have abandoned ad hoc unilateral efforts to assist their poorer neighbours to escape perpetual cycles of poverty by entering into institutionalised multilateral commitments to contribute part of their annual earnings to developmental goals. These goals are also vigorously pursued by multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Complaints procedures offer a unique opportunity for individuals and groups to have claims of human rights violations considered and their rights vindicated in a judicial or quasi-judicial procedure. For non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights lawyers, complaints procedures are an important avenue to pursue strategic objectives, in addition to supporting victims in individual cases. States, on the other hand, may find themselves having to defend allegations of specific or systemic violations. Ideally, complaints procedures act as a mirror that provides an opportunity for states to bring their practices into conformity with the respective treaty.
Economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights include a number of entitlements, such as the right to work and the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work; the right to form and join trade unions; the right to social security; the protection of the family, mothers and children; the right to an adequate standard of living, which includes adequate food, clothing and housing and continuous improvement of living conditions; the right to the highest attainable standard of mental health; the right to education; and the right to participate in cultural life and enjoy the benefits of scientific progress. All these are protected under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Complaints procedures offer a unique opportunity for individuals and groups to have claims of human rights violations considered and their rights vindicated in a judicial or quasi-judicial procedure. For non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and human rights lawyers, complaints procedures are an important avenue to pursue strategic objectives, in addition to supporting victims in individual cases. States, on the other hand, may find themselves having to defend allegations of specific or systemic violations. Ideally, complaints procedures act as a mirror that provides an opportunity for states to bring their practices into conformity with the respective treaty. In practice, however, states often view unfavourable decisions as unwarranted criticism, which may create difficulties at the implementation stage. The treaty bodies themselves are in theory neutral arbiters that apply the treaty provisions and rules of procedures. However, inevitably, their position as bodies created by states, and relying on states’ cooperation on the one hand and seeking the effective protection of human rights on the other, raises a host of challenges in actual practice.
This unique textbook merges human rights law with its practice, from the courtroom to the battlefield. Human rights are analysed in their particular context, and the authors assess, among other things, the impact of international finance, the role of NGOs, and the protection of rights in times of emergency, including the challenges posed by counter-terrorism. In parallel, a series of interviews with practitioners, case studies and practical applications offer multiple perspectives and challenging questions on the effective implementation of human rights. Although the book comprehensively covers the traditional areas of international human rights law, including its regional and international legal and institutional framework, it also encompasses, through distinct chapters or large sections, areas that have a profound impact on human rights worldwide, such as women's rights, human rights and globalisation, refugees and migration, human rights obligations of non-state actors, debt and human rights, and others.
This chapter discusses the development and application of international humanitarian law (IHL) and its interrelationship with human rights law. It further examines this special relationship, which is of particular importance for the protection of civilians, especially where the applicability of IHL is contested or where IHL constitutes an exception to certain rights, such as the right to life, or fails to prevent and/or provide effective remedies for violations. The chapter seeks to identify the scope of application of IHL and demonstrate the degree to which the two can be reconciled. Moreover, a special case is made for the law applicable in situations of military occupation whereby human rights are subordinate to IHL. Despite this subordination, in practice because international human rights tribunals are not mandated to apply humanitarian law they necessarily interpret and enforce the rights of the victims on the basis of the rights found in their respective statutes. As a result, the jurisprudence of human rights tribunals is not always consistent with IHL. Yet, such tribunals are hard pressed to accept jurisdiction over situations which would otherwise be resolved on the basis of IHL alone. This chapter therefore goes on to discuss the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction by human rights tribunals.
The disadvantages, discrimination and subordination suffered by women globally have been well documented in a variety of contexts. Yet the issue of women’s human rights has, until relatively recently, been neglected in international law. The instruments composing the International Bill of Human Rights contain general non-discrimination clauses which include the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, whereby the rights within these instruments are held to be applicable to everyone, regardless of, inter alia, sex. As this chapter will discuss, these generic non-discrimination clauses have, in a number of ways, proved inadequate to capture the specific nature of violations suffered by women and to provide adequate protection. Women’s human rights are an overarching phenomenon touching on all aspects of the international human rights framework. The importance of addressing human rights issues as they specifically pertain to women and others suffering disadvantage or oppression within gender-based power structures, has now been widely recognised.