Is There a Legal Duty to Address World Poverty?
Title: Is There a Legal Duty to Address World Poverty?
Author: SALOMON, Margot E.
Series/Report no.: EUI RSCAS PP; 2012/03; Global Governance Programme
States are reticent to support the idea that they have human rights obligations to people other than their own. However decades of United Nations consideration and human rights standard-setting in the area of international cooperation have advanced interpretations of the obligation whereby economic and other policies should be designed in such a way as to avoid causing injury to the interests of developing States and to the rights of their people, and, moreover, should actively seek to address existing deprivations. This latter obligation to fulfil socio-economic rights elsewhere gives rise to a host of important legal issues that provide the focus for this article. Should we understand the obligations to be those of individual States or can we speak of collective legal obligations in this area? Is the extraterritorial obligation to fulfil socio-economic rights limited to the transfer of financial resources, and if not what else might it entail? Are they best framed as secondary obligations triggered only if the rights-holder’s own State is unable or unwilling to fulfil them or as simultaneous obligations? If, as per the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its monitoring Committee we recognise capacity as a basis to assist, how might the obligations among all those States with capacity be divided? In complying with these positive obligations of international assistance and cooperation what would constitute an unreasonable cost on the part of a State acting extraterritorially? In exploring these questions, this paper offers insights from the author’s membership in the Drafting Committee of the 2011 Maastricht Principles on the Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and presents the current state of legal play.
Subject: Socio-economic rights; globalisation; extraterritorial obligations; international cooperation; Maastricht Principles 2011
Type of Access: openAccess