Public Procurement and Human Rights
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Public Procurement and Human Rights

Opportunities, Risks and Dilemmas for the State as Buyer

Edited by Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien

This timely work reflects on the role and obligations of the state as a buyer of goods and services, from the dual disciplinary perspectives of public procurement and human rights. Through theoretical and doctrinal analyses, and practice-focused case studies, it interrogates the evolving character of public procurement as an interface for multiple normative regimes and competing policies. Challenging the prevailing paradigm which subordinates human rights to narrowly-defined economic goals, insightful contributions advance a compelling case for greater inter-disciplinarity and policy coherence as crucial to realising international policies such as those embodied in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
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Chapter 6: Public procurement and core human rights: a sketch of the European Union legal framework

Albert Sanchez-Graells

Abstract

The 2014 EU rules on public procurement arguably create regulatory space for the implementation of ‘core’ human rights oriented public procurement policies. This chapter discusses the main constraints for the inclusion of ‘core’ human rights-related considerations in the procurement process through the following instruments: exclusion grounds; use of labels; award criteria and award constraints; rejection of abnormally low tenders; and contract performance requirements. The chapter offers a sceptical view of the effectiveness of any of these mechanisms due to policy fuzziness and significant resource constraints. It further queries the desirability of ‘core’ human rights oriented procurement due to the implicit trade-offs it creates against the general effectiveness of the procurement function.

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