Human rights

The Revised Draft of a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Ground-breaking improvements and brighter prospects

This past July, the chairperson of a working group tasked with negotiating an international treaty on business and human rights circulated an updated draft text for consideration in the fifth round of negotiations, to be held October 14–18, 2019 in Geneva. This document features a series of innovations, including extending the scope of the treaty beyond transnational organizations to include all business enterprises, along with bringing much needed clarity on how this treaty might interact with the wide range of trade and investment agreements already in place. Carlos Lopez describes these innovations in detail, showing their changes relative to the “zero draft” and outlining how they may affect upcoming negotiations.

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ICSID tribunal upholds Panama’s plea of illegality in the making of an investment in a tourism project located in an Indigenous area

ÁLVAREZ Y MARÍN CORPORACIÓN S.A., BARTUS VAN NOORDENNE, CORNELIS WILLEM VAN NOORDENNE, ESTUDIOS TRIBUTARIOS AP S.A. AND STICHTING ADMINISTRATIEKANTOOR ANBADI V. REPUBLIC OF PANAMA, ICSID CASE NO. ARB/15/14

Protecting Social Rights Using the Amicus Curiae Procedure in Investment Arbitration: A smokescreen against third parties?

Arguments submitted by an amicus curiae (a “friend of the court”) have become increasingly common in investment arbitration. Many of these arguments deal with internationally recognized social rights, such as the right to water or food. This piece considers the restrictive conditions on amici curiae admission, the frequent reference to social rights issues in amici briefs, and the challenges in presenting these social rights arguments. The author advances possible actions that amici and states can take to make their social rights arguments more effective in an investment law context.

Corporate Social Responsibility Clauses in Investment Treaties

CSR refers to rules and practices companies follow voluntarily to limit the negative social, environmental and other externalities caused by their activities. There is a trend to incorporate CSR standards in investment treaties. Could CSR clauses be useful in consolidating enforceable investor obligations and serving as a basis for state counterclaims?

News  |  December 21, 2018

Negotiations of a legally binding instrument on business and human rights continue at the United Nations

During the week of October 15–19, 2018, the fourth session of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights took place in Geneva.

ITN  |  October 18, 2018

Bear Creek v. Peru

Bear Creek Mining Corporation v. Republic of Peru, ICSID Case No. ARB/14/2 (Published in 2018 in International Investment Law and Sustainable Development: Key cases from the 2010s and on this website on October 15, 2018. Read more here.) Decisions and award are available at https://www.italaw.com/cases/2848 Keywords Silver mining, general exception clause, social licence to operate, human rights […]

ITN  |  October 18, 2018

Urbaser v. Argentina

Urbaser S.A. and Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia, Bilbao Biskaia Ur Partzuergoa v. The Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/26 (Published in 2018 in International Investment Law and Sustainable Development: Key cases from the 2010s and on this website on October 18, 2018. Read more here.) Decisions and award are available at http://www.italaw.com/cases/1144 Keywords Human rights, […]

Toward an International Convention on Business and Human Rights

In July 2018, Ecuador’s Ambassador released the zero draft of one of the most important international human rights treaties in recent years. How does this draft measure up to the high expectations and needs expressed by the international community and especially those in need of justice and reparation?

News  |  October 17, 2018

UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights hosts 4th session October 15-19, 2018

The fourth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights will take place October 15–19, 2018 in Room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The Journey of a Binding Treaty on Human Rights: Three Years Out and Where Is It Heading?

Meaningful and effective remedies need to be provided to those injured by business-related human rights abuses. An intergovernmental working group at the United Nations is working to bridge gaps among stakeholders and negotiate a binding instrument on transnational corporations and other businesses with respect to human rights.

Large-Scale Land Investments in Least Developed Countries: Legal conflicts between investment and human rights protection

This book analyzes large-scale land investments for agricultural purposes in Africa’s least-developed countries from a law and economics perspective.

International Investment Law and Policy in Africa: Exploring a human rights based approach to investment regulation and dispute settlement

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the international investment law regime and current treaty practices in Africa from global, regional and domestic perspectives.

Investor–State Arbitration and Human Rights

This book examines the interrelations between human rights and international investment law and discusses whether and how human rights arguments may be presented in the course of arbitral proceedings based on investment treaties.

Can Foreign Investors Be Held Liable for Human Rights Violations? International Human Rights Law and Beyond

Host states have had the challenge to protect their citizens from human rights violations caused by multinationals. This paper explains the bases of states’ obligations under international human rights law and how foreign investors may be held responsible.

Recasting Rules and Exceptions? On the Relationship Between Regulatory Sovereignty and International Investment Law

States’ regulatory powers are the rule, and investors’ rights under international investment law are the exception. Or is it the other way around? Book review of Public Purpose in International Law.

Investment Law within International Law: Integrationist Perspectives

The book examines the links between investment law and other sub-fields of international law, including the law on armed conflict, human rights, sustainable development, trade, development and EU law.

Negotiations Kick Off on a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

The inaugural session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group for the Elaboration of an International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (TNCOBEs) with respect to Human Rights (the Working Group) marks the beginning of a process to negotiate a binding treaty on business and human rights.

News  |  August 4, 2015

Binding instrument on business and human rights: Working Group holds its first session

From July 6 to 10, 2015, a UN working group convened its first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a legal instrument on human rights and transnational corporations.