Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations and the North-South Divide - Vandenhole, Wouter; Benedek, Wolfgang

International human rights law traditionally focuses on the responsibilities of the State towards its citizens or those residing on its territory (the ‘domestic State’). However, globalisation has shifted attention from ‘government’ to ‘governance’, thus diversifying the number and range of actors that impact on the enjoyment of all human rights. International human rights law needs to adapt to these present realities. Part of the required change involves the conceptual elaboration of extraterritorial human rights obligations incumbent on others (‘foreign States’).

Moving beyond the issues of the legal status of extraterritorial human rights, causation and jurisdiction, it is important to examine what the division of responsibility could look like if extraterritorial obligations were to be fully recognised. If several States are responsible for a denial or deprivation of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights, how is the blame to be attributed? Building on the preceding chapter by Khalfan, this chapter adds an explicit ‘North-South’ perspective, and focuses in particular on the division of responsibility amongst foreign States (acting on their own rather than through multilateral institutions). After setting out a conceptual framework and some working principles, mainly of a de lege ferenda nature, we turn our attention to how they might apply in three cases. These examples address extraterritorial obligations to respect, protect and fulfil in international cooperation for development, in diverse areas such as primary health care, agricultural subsidies and primary education.

Chapter 11. Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations and the North-South Divide, 332-364.


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