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Extraterritorial obligations and the obligation to protect

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Publication date2017
Host publicationNetherlands Yearbook of International Law 2016.
EditorsM. Kuijer, W. Werner
Place of PublicationThe Hague
PublisherT.M.C. Asser Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9789462652071
ISBN (Print)9789462652064
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameNetherlands Yearbook of International Law
PublisherT.M.C. Asser Press
ISSN (Print)0167-6768
ISSN (Electronic)1574-0951


Since the late 1970s, what we today label ‘globalisation’ has altered many aspects of international law, not least international human rights law. This has been reflected inter alia in increased calls for universal respect for human rights beyond a state’s territorial border. The challenges to territoriality in this regard does not only relate to the actions of states abroad, but also with respect to their regulation of the conduct of business enterprises over which they exert significant influence. The chapter analyses the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence and practice of the UN human rights bodies, and argues that extraterritorial human rights obligations have become an integral part of international human rights law. It is held that what has been seen as ‘exceptional’ now represent ‘common practice’. This conclusion is then applied to the discussion of the new treaty on human rights as currently being drafted.