The paper explores whether armed non-state actors (ANSAs) should become bearers of responsibilities for human rights, in particular in situations where it is unlikely that they are accepted as full human rights duty-bearers. Through an interpretation of relevant human rights provisions in light of international human rights courts’ and treaty bodies’ ‘jurisprudence’, the paper first establishes what is meant by ‘responsibilities for human rights’. It highlights that they oblige their bearers to not undermine and to proactively support human rights duty-bearers – usually states – to discharge their human rights duties. It also explores on what basis (e.g. capacity) they can be allocated to concrete responsibility-bearers, recognising that, unlike human rights duties, they do not depend on jurisdiction. Second, the paper examines whether there are indications that ANSAs already assume responsibilities for selected human rights, and if so, what scope these responsibilities might have.
My paper provides a general outline of the conception of extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) of non-state actors (NSAs). It examines the specifics of attributing various types of ETOs to IGOs, TNCs, NGOs, and foundations (remedial and global, interactional and institutional, obligations of result and obligations of conduct, and obligations of relational and distributive justice). The paper analyzes major arguments against the recognition of NSAs’ positive obligations and offers counter-arguments. I develop an idea that NSAs, as “social organs” having certain social mission, should contribute to the realization of shared positive ETOs and specify basic principles for distributing ETOs among various NSAs.
In 2017 the UN ESCR Committee clarified that International law obliges States to regulate corporations domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction for their activities abroad and to take all the reasonable measures that could prevent the occurrence of a violation. Recent evolutions demonstrate that some States (i.e. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Switzerland) are working towards the adoption of national legislations imposing companies human rights due diligence in their global supply chains. While these developments could represent an important sign of hope for the future development of ETOs related to non-state actors, a question remains: are these legislations enough to protect human rights from corporate abuses extraterritorially? The present intervention aims at answering to this question through a comparative analysis of the most recent developments on mandatory human rights due diligence at EU level and in European member states.
The presentation will focus on the potential enforcement of international human rights standards against non-state actors through the domestic legal systems of member States. Within these systems, there may be different avenues for enforcing international human rights standards, not all of which will rely on the narrative and legal framework of ‘human rights’, or what can be described as a ‘rights narrative’.
Instead they may, depending on the circumstances of the case, rely on the narrative of tort law in the context of conflicts of law. The international human rights standards will then be applied indirectly in the sense that they will inform the interpretation and application of the tort law principles in question.
The paper argues that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) should extend the extraterritorial application of human rights to corporate liability. It should impose state obligations to provide effective legal frameworks and judicial remedies to extraterritorial victims of subsidiaries whose parent companies are incorporated in Member States of the ECtHR. While global south international human rights forums increasingly tackle state complicity in corporate harm, the ECtHR needs to acknowledge the role of its Member States in harboring parent corporations that financially benefit from the harms committed by its subsidiaries. The paper considers the extent to which the ECtHR holds states accountable for domestic corporate harms. It evaluates domestic civil litigation in the UK and Canada and legal approaches to delimiting parent company liability for extraterritorial subsidiaries. An enterprise theory of parent company liability can provide a human rights compliant regulatory regime.