Edited by Patricia Kennett
Chapter 6: International Law and Human Rights in the Context of Globalization
6. International law and human rights in the context of globalization Tonia Novitz INTRODUCTION It is established under international law that human rights are deserving of protection. This principle can be traced back to initiatives taken to incorporate a humanitarian element into the laws of war and the condemnation of slavery, especially in the early twentieth century.1 However, there remains controversy over the content of human rights and how they may best be protected. This chapter begins by considering established legal mechanisms for the international protection of human rights in the light of this controversy. It outlines the history of diﬀerential treatment of three ‘generations’ of human rights: civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and the rights of ‘peoples’. It also examines how this is reﬂected in international instruments for the protection of human rights and the systems set up to monitor and promote their enforcement. The implications for governance at the international level are also considered. What emerges is that states have been reluctant to submit themselves to stringent scrutiny of their breaches of human rights, and that this reluctance is compounded by a fractured approach to human rights protection. The chapter then goes on to consider how compliance with international human rights law has been further undermined by the phenomena associated with market-led globalization. In particular, it considers acute challenges posed on the international stage by the economic power wielded by international ﬁnancial institutions (IFIs), such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the...
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