The Consortium on Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations (www.etoconsortium.org), together with the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights and FIAN International organized a European conference on 28/29 September. The meeting took place at the Brussels Campus of Maastricht University.
The meeting brought together some 45 academics, representatives of human rights NGOs, civil society organisations and human rights practitioners. They analysed the human rights beyond border dimensions of issues in policy fields such as debt and austerity; climate and ecology; financial capture and land grabbing, the regulation of transnational corporations; and investment and trade.
Human rights beyond borders depart from the notion of the universality of human rights. This idea implies that states have extraterritorial human rights obligations (ETOs). This is very much an issue in an era characterized by economic globalisation where state and non-state actors impact on the enjoyment of social, economic and cultural rights of people living in other countries. Human rights beyond borders aim at mitigating the negative consequences of processes of economic globalisation. The Maastricht Principles on the Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted in September 2011, provide a normative framework for regulating the activities of states at home and abroad. These Principles acted as a framework and touchstone for discussing the topics mentioned above during the conference. The meeting identified ways of collaboration between academics and civil society organisations on cases and issues that have an ETO dimension. Suggestions for future academic research were also made. Fons Coomans, on behalf of the Maastricht Centre for Human Rights, acted as co-organizer of the conference.