With the growth in the number of investment treaties and investment treaty arbitrations, criticisms have arisen that the investment treaty regime has an adverse impact on the protection of human rights. It has been argued that it puts States in situations in which they face conflicting international legal obligations under the two regimes. This chapter looks at four constellations to analyse the current relationship between international investment law and human rights law. First, it addresses cases involving allegations that the human rights of the investor have been violated in the context of State interference with an investment. Second, it discusses situations involving allegations that the investor’s actions have violated the human rights of the host State population. Third, it analyses the implications of host States amending their legislation to better comply with human rights obligations. Finally, it analyses cases where the host State invokes human rights to justify non-compliance with investment protection provisions during an economic crisis.
Investment and water are in a delicate relationship. Water is at the source of life and therefore not just a commodity, but also a scarce resource. UN human rights bodies and the European Court of Human Rights had to discuss and decide issues of access to safe drinking water and potential degradation of water. They have also played a role in many of the water-related investment arbitrations. This contribution seeks first to outline the normative and structural setup of the international legal framework with regard to water; second, to explore which requirements have so far been established by human rights bodies with regard to access to clean water; and third, to assess how investment tribunals have dealt with water-related cases. It then provides an overview of conclusions that can be derived from human rights as well as from investment case law.