Edited by Ljiljana Biukovic and Pitman B. Potter
Chapter 5: The impact of Mexico’s 2011 human rights constitutional amendment on arbitral practice: a view from local actors
Using Mexico as a case study, this chapter illustrates the dilemmas of local performance of international standards on trade and human rights encountered by local interpretive communities. The perspectives from local actors shed light on the interactions between international legal rules and the local context where interpretive communities face challenges of interpretation, implementation and coordination of norms from these two areas of law. Mexico’s 2011 Human Rights Constitutional Amendment significantly changed the approach to the protection of human rights in this country. The Amendment included the incorporation of specific human rights terminology, and extended the protection from the rights recognized in the Constitution to include the human rights recognized in the international treaties ratified by Mexico. Pursuant to the pro personae principle, it established four additional principles that ought to guide their protection: universality, interdependency, indivisibility and progression. Federal judges considered this a significant paradigm shift for the protection of human rights that affected the legal system as a whole. Even though counsellors and arbitrators saw very little possibility and were reluctant, to some extent, to see an impact of the Amendment on arbitration, they were also aware and felt hopeful that it would position international treaties differently in the minds of Mexican judges. Mexico is working towards the convergence of international law and Mexican laws through the constitutionalization of international law. Nevertheless, operational challenges surface in the implementation stage at the court level, which exemplifies the impact of the underlying tension between international law and standards of local performance on local interpretive communities.
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