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.

Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Legislations (mHRDD) in Europe: hope for extraterritorial obligations in business and human rights?

The UN ESCR Committee has clarified that States should regulate corporations domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction for their activities abroad and take all the reasonable measures that could prevent the occurrence of a violation. Some States (i.e. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium) are working towards the adoption of legislations imposing companies human rights due diligence in their global supply chains. Moreover the European Commission announced that it will come out with a legislative proposal on the topic in 2021. 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 an analysis of some recent developments on mandatory human rights due diligence legislation.

The Extractive Industry and Foreign Security

The practices of extractive industries can be exploitative of the local communities within which they operate. Strained relationships between local communities and extractive industries can give rise to conflict and can lead to the commission of human rights abuses by police and military. This paper considers what role the UK can play in regulating UK corporate relationships with foreign state security forces in its extractive activities. The paper considers executive, legislative, and judicial responses to human rights abuses committed in the protection of foreign extractive industry. It acknowledges that Parliamentary Committee and FCDO reports do not attempt to articulate, yet alone resolve, the UK’s role in that conflict. Further, UK litigation is anomalous in terms of international standards and comparative trends. It will suggest ways of rectifying this regulatory framework through incremental judicial change or alternatively legislative change.

Beyond Jurisdiction: Responsibilities for the Right to Health

The paper explores whether different types of non-state actors (NSAs) are or should become bearers of responsibilities for health-related human rights, in particular in situations where it is unlikely that they are accepted as full human rights duty-bearers. By differentiating them from human rights obligations/duties, 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. Second, the paper examines various non-state actors’ emerging responsibilities for health-related human rights – their legal basis and degree of normativity, their holders and bearers, their scope and content as well as the grounds based on which responsibilities for health-related human rights could be allocated to concrete non-state responsibility-bearer. This is done through an analysis and interpretation of relevant health-related human rights provisions in light of international human rights courts’ and treaty bodies’ ‘jurisprudence’.