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Human Rights Obligations of Non-State Actors

Andrew Clapham


The threats to human rights posed by non-state actors are of increasing concern. Multinational corporations, armed oppositions groups, and the activities of international organizations such as the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union are increasingly examined with recourse to a human rights lens. This book presents an approach to human rights that goes beyond the traditional focus on states and outlines the human rights obligations of non-state actors and addresses some of the ways in which they can be held legally accountable in various jurisdictions. The political debate concerning the appropriateness of expanding human rights scrutiny to non-state actors is discussed and dissected. For some extending human rights into these spheres trivializes them and allows abusive governments to distract us from ongoing violations. For others such an extension is essential if human rights are properly to address the current concerns of women and workers. The main focus of the book, however, is on the legal obligations of non-state actors. The book discusses how developments in the fields of international responsibility and international criminal law have implications for building a framework for the human rights obligations of non-state actors in international law. In turn these international developments have drawn on the changing ways in which human rights are implemented in national law. A selection of national jurisdictions, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom is examined with regard to the application of human rights law to non-state actors.

Bibliographic Information

Andrew Clapham, author

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