Economic Social Cultural Rights

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International Economic Law in a Time of Global Perils: Omicron and other COVID variants, Climate Change, Human Rights, and Development

The World Trade Organization decided to indefinitely postpone its 12th Ministerial Conference, originally scheduled for this week (30 November to 3 December), due to travel constraints for many delegations coming from countries that had already imposed travel bans and other restrictions due to the new Omicron variant.  The 12th Ministerial was slated to take up a range of agenda items, but what was supposed to be most politically sensitive is the ongoing impasse on India and South Africa's proposal (currently supported by over 100 countries) for a TRIPS waiver for COVID vaccines and other related medical goods, therapeutics, and equipment to respond to the pandemic.  United States President Biden has already openly supported the TRIPS waiver since May 2021, but to date the European Union remains opposed to the proposal. Switzerland recently announced it is open to compromise, but the indefinitely postponed 12th WTO Ministerial enables more time for the impasse on the TRIPS waiver to continue. As of this writing, the World Health Organization reports over 259…

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The Endless War Against Human Rights in Afghanistan: Human Rights Defenders’ Joint Statement of Solidarity with the People of Afghanistan

Today, the 31st of August 2021, marks the official deadline for withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan after twenty years of military presence initially motivated by the 9/11 attacks of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.  Many have written (including Henry Kissinger) about the failures of American foreign policy and its efforts at nation-building…

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FIDH and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium: Chronicle of a Conviction Foretold

On 3 February 2021 the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) publicized its decision in International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium. The decision followed a collective complaint by two organisations alleging a violation of Belgium’s obligations under the European Social Charter and is the latest in a series of ECSR-decisions on…

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Some Vaccination Questions, Ethical and Legal

It’s difficult to think of a more pressing problem today than how scarce coronavirus vaccines should be distributed between and within states. Newspapers are full of discussions of ‘vaccine nationalism,’ of the EU-UK-Astra Zeneca row, or of the limited availability of vaccines in the developing world. For us as international lawyers, obviously, the further issue – one to…

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Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution and Access: Enforcing International Legal Obligations under Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the Right to Development

Editor's Note: This post was prepared in advance of my remarks for the 12 February 2021 Global Webinar of the Notre Dame Eck Institute of Global Health ("Are we all in this together? Assessing and addressing equitable access and distributive justice in global supply chains during major disease outbreaks").  By this time, US pharmaceutical companies…

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