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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FIAN International together with other members of the Global Network for the Right to Food and Nutrition (GNRTFN) held a three-day workshop, from June 24 to 26, in Geneva to discuss the challenges related to corporate control over food systems and how to unify social struggles to overcome these. The seminar brought together a wide diversity of participants from across the globe, including social movements representing small-scale food producers, indigenous peoples, and workers; human rights...

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In a landmark decision on June 26, the UN Human Rights Council decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate a legally-binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with transnational character. While the working group is likely to use its first sessions to delineate the content, scope, nature and form of this document, it already seems clear that States’ extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) will be an important...

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After “Twelve reasons to strengthen extraterritorial human rights obligations”, published in June 2013 (Spanish: October 2013), another basic booklet on ETOs was released in March 2014 (English and Spanish): "Fourteen misconceptions about extraterritorial human rights obligations". The author is Rolf Künnemann, Human Rights Director of FIAN International. On 20 pages, the author formulated fourteen main misconceptions sometimes heard in discussions around ETOs.

The misconceptions relate to the...

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Cases about ETOs always involve several duty-holders in international human rights law: The foreign State(s) holding the ETOs and the domestic State with its territorial obligations towards the victims/ rights holders. The question how to attribute obligations and how to apportion responsibility in a given case is highly relevant for ETOs. The Maastricht Principles provide the framework for dealing with these questions, but further detail is necessary. GLOTHRO’s final conference, held in Turku...

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In its Concluding Observations on the fourth periodic report of the United States, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) expresses concern over the position maintained by the U.S. that its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) do not apply with regard to persons living outside its territory. It calls on the State party to:

“Interpret the Covenant in good faith, in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context,...

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On March 11 and 12, the Permanent Missions of Ecuador and South Africa held a workshop on Human Rights and TNCs that brought together government representatives, CSOs and experts to discuss opportunities for the negotiation of legally-binding norms for TNCs. The workshop follows the initiative for a binding instrument on human rights and transnational corporations (TNCs) called for by a group of CSOs at the first regional meeting of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (August 2013,...

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A newly published book by Amnesty International “Injustice incorporated: corporate abuses and the human right to remedy” explores the challenges related to accessing justice in cases where multinational companies have committed or aided human rights abuses and violations. Based on the lived experiences of victims of such human rights abuses in four emblematic cases, the book illustrates how corporate political and financial power is used to create or exacerbate legal obstacles, evade...

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A briefing paper recently released by FIDH entitled “Business and human rights: enhancing standards and ensuring redress” calls on the international community to take measures at national, regional and international levels to improve standards and provide for effective redress mechanisms for corporate-related human rights abuses. Based on five case studies on the human rights impact of corporate activities in Cambodia, Brazil, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Occupied Palestinian...

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The Feminist Declaration for Post 2015, which is the result of the drafting work of more than 60 women’s, young people’s, indigenous, LGBTI and human rights networks and has been endorsed by over 340 international, regional and national organizations in 143 countries, demands a paradigm transformation from the current neoliberal, extractivist and exclusive development model that perpetuates inequalities of wealth, power and resources between countries, within countries and between men and...

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On January 30 and 31, the ETO Consortium held its first MENA focal group meeting in Beirut, Lebanon. Hosted jointly by the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) and the ETO Consortium Secretariat, the workshop brought together representatives from civil society organizations as well as academics from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia to discuss the relevance of ETOs for the Arab region and to develop an initial strategy for applying and mainstreaming ETOs in...

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