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Human Rights Duties and the International Actions of States

Duggan-Larkin, JA; (2017) Human Rights Duties and the International Actions of States. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the role human rights can play in relation to global challenges which require large scale international responses. States' international actions shape how such global challenges are confronted. They can have substantial impact on human rights, but the issue of whether states have human rights obligations in this context remains controversial. Controversy surrounds the legal status of human rights obligations in the context of international action, the theoretical plausibility of imposing human rights obligations in such contexts, as well as more practical considerations. This thesis addresses these three areas of controversy, moving the debate forward with three important conclusions: first, a legal basis for human rights obligations in the context of international action is established through the interpretation of articles 55(c) and 56 of the UN Charter. Second, despite doubts regarding the specificity and claimability of seemingly imperfect duties, it is shown that articles 55(c) and 56 can ground specific obligations claimable against states. Third, it is possible to build from these conclusions to specify what articles 55(c) and 56 must require if states are to take effective international action for human rights. Three state duties are posited: the duties to assess, participate and respond. The duties mark out a continuing and distinct role for Articles 55(c) and 56, as a potentially effective constraint on states’ international actions. Through the development of three real world cases studies, this thesis specifies and clarifies the substantive content of the duties to assess, participate and respond. It demonstrates that these duties have significant practical utility. Within the context of climate change and beyond, the duties on states under articles 55(c) and 56 that result from the interpretation offered in this thesis have the potential to reshape the international actions of states such that they better protect human rights for all.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Human Rights Duties and the International Actions of States
Event: University College London
Language: English
Keywords: Charter of the United Nations, International Action, Human Rights, International Law, Climate Change, World Bank, Ebola
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535387
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