Do Non-State Actors Bear Obligations in the Area of Socio-Economic Rights? (Towards a Theory of Extraterritorial Obligations)

The paper provides a general outline of the conception of extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) of non-state actors (NSAs). Obligations of NSAs are frequently considered to be limited by negative duties to respect human rights, whereas positive obligations to protect and fulfill human rights are beyond their concern and reserved for the state. The paper argues that NSAs, as “social organs” having certain social missions, should be recognized as agents of justice and duty-bearers of ETOs to respect, protect and fulfill socio-economic rights. It evaluates major arguments against the recognition of NSAs’ positive obligations and offers convincing counter-arguments. It also opens a novel understanding of ETOs’ sources, nature, status, content, scope, hierarchy, types, and develops basic principles for allocating individual and shared ETOs to NSAs.