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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UN Special Rapporteur calls for international treaty to regulate corporations in line with States’ ETOs

The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, in his latest report to the Human Rights Council called on States to comply with their extraterritorial obligations and consider adopting a legally binding international instrument to regulate corporations in relation to human rights.

In the report, which focuses on the exercise of the rights to peaceful assembly and association in the context of natural resource exploitation, Mr. Kiai highlights the extraterritorial obligations of States with regard to regulating corporations, thereby citing Maastricht Principle 25 (c). He notes that in the context of natural resource exploitation, broadening the scope of responsibility is essential to strengthen rights and ensure access to remedies for victims of corporate human rights abuses. The obligation to provide such remedies rests, according to the Special Rapporteur, with both the host State and the State of origin.

The human rights expert recommends that States “take appropriate measures to meet extraterritorial obligations particularly by providing access to remedy for victims of violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association” (par. 72 c). Such measures should include, among others, the adoption of laws which prohibit and punish conduct by corporations which impairs the enjoyment of human rights abroad; ensuring that the rights to peaceful assembly and association are protected in the context of international agreements on natural resource exploitation; and considering the elaboration of an international treaty for regulating TNCs with respect to human rights, as proposed by the UN Human Rights Council resolution 26/9.

Read the full report in our library