This chapter appraises calls for human rights due diligence (HRDD) in the context of international financial institutions (IFIs). It examines the assumption that implicit human rights coverage in environmental and social due diligence (ESDD) can be equated with a full and comprehensive consideration of human rights risk and impacts. Most IFIs have resisted calls for HRDD implementation, pointing to their suite of environmental and social policies, performance tools, instruments, frameworks and plans. This chapter explores the reasons for this traditional IFI position, as well as the nature and extent of the perceived gaps and inadequacies from a human rights perspective. The chapter contrasts ESDD and HRDD, identifying the key qualitative differences between traditional environmental and social policies and their accompanying due diligence instruments, compared with HRDD and the tools and frameworks that emanate directly from human rights law, such as human rights impact assessment (HRIA).
This chapter investigates the potential relevance of international human rights law to climate change and migration. As Siobhán McInerney-Lankford provocatively suggests, existing international law provides multiple entry-points to respond to the plight of individuals displaced either internally or through international borders as a result of climate change. The principle of equality and non-discrimination is of particular relevance because, in many cases, the populations most affected by climate change – those who have no choice but to migrate – are already populations subject to multiple forms of discrimination. Through the lens of this principle, Siobhán McInerney-Lankford explores the significance of the obligation of States to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of climate migrants, showing that, despite important challenges (e.g. the contested extraterritorial application of human rights), international human rights law does provide at least general principles to inform responses to climate migration and, perhaps, guide further legal developments.
Social rights protected under international human rights law provide a binding frame through which to analyze climate vulnerability. Such an analysis can advance an understanding of the disproportionate impacts of climate change on vulnerable or discriminated groups and as such is based on the proposition that human rights law brings distinct added value to the climate debate. This chapter considers the consequences of characterizing an entitlement as a right in terms of the obligations it generates in the context of climate change, and the legal and policy implications this may have for state parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) with respect to both mitigation and adaptation measures. The analysis borrows from human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) to examine climate policies and to connect the documented social and human impacts of climate change with obligations under the international human rights framework.
Siobhan McInerney-Lankford examines ‘internal’ and ‘external’ challenges of human rights legal research. The first relates to the depth and critical quality of mainstream human rights legal research and the tendency of human rights lawyers to assume the validity of the norms underpinning human rights law. The second challenge relates to the breadth and orientation of human rights law, which often overlooks the impact and policy uptake of human rights norms. The chapter concludes by exploring the implications of these critiques for human rights legal methodology and the need to recognize and safeguard the distinct contributions of human rights discourse.