Human Rights

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UNCITRAL WGIII and Human Rights: towards a more balanced ISDS System?

Introduction Human rights law and investment arbitration law have traditionally been viewed as divergent fields, reflecting distinct objectives and representing the interests of different stakeholders. The investor-state dispute settlement system (ISDS) has been criticized for its asymmetrical nature, creating competing legal obligations for States, and granting rights to investors while limiting the States’ regulatory power and constraining their ability to comply with their international human rights law (IHRL) obligations. In 2017, the UNCITRAL Working Group III on Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform (WGIII) began assessing the potential for a holistic reform of the ISDS system in a way that would address legitimacy concerns and rebalance the system (UNICTRAL and ISDS Reform). This post describes how WGIII has approached human rights and suggests ways in which human rights are relevant for an effective ISDS reform.

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Climate change and the European Court of Human Rights: The Portuguese Youth Case

On 3 September, six Portuguese children and young adults (aged 8 to 21) issued an Application to the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) against 33 Council of Europe Member States (all of the EU 27, plus the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine) in respect of the profound, ongoing, and worsening impact that climate change is having upon…

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Challenging the Olympic Charter at the Swiss OECD National Contact Point

In January 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued guidelines to clarify the content of the controversial Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter (OC). Rule 50 prohibits any ‘kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’. It was introduced to the OC during the 1970s, following one of…

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Armenia v Azerbaijan before the European Court of Human Rights

On 28 September 2020, Armenia lodged a request for interim measures against Azerbaijan in view of the recent reignition of the conflict in and around the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. One day later, the European Court of Human Rights decided to apply Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court. While…

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Implementing Decisions of International Human Rights Institutions – Evidence from the United Nations Human Rights Committee: A Rejoinder to Ullmann and von Staden

Evaluating the effectiveness of institutions is a hard mission, and it causes numerous theoretical and methodological difficulties. This is especially true for evaluating the effectiveness of quasi-judicial institutions such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee (‘HRC’), as my 2019 EJIL article attempted to do. Therefore, first I would like to thank Andreas J. Ullmann and…

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