Can transnational corporations ignore human rights as long as governments don’t hold them accountable? If the UN is put in charge of a territory, is it bound by human rights law? Does that body of law apply to private security contractors who use torture to achieve their goals? Does the right to freedom of speech apply in a private shopping mall which has become the modern-day town centre? Under traditional approaches to human rights, non-State actors are beyond the direct reach of international human rights law. They cannot be parties to the relevant treaties and so they are only bound to the extent that obligations accepted by States can be applied to them by governments. The result is that entities including Non-Governmental Organizations, international organizations such as the UN and the IMF, private security contractors, and transnational corporations, along with many others, are generally considered not to be bound directly by human rights law. This situation threatens to make a mockery of much of the international system of accountability for human rights violations. As privatization, outsourcing, and downsizing place ever more public or governmental functions into the hands of private actors, the human rights regime must adapt if it is to maintain its relevance. The contributors to this volume examine the different approaches that might be taken in order to ensure some degree of accountability. Making space in the legal regime to take account of the role of non-State actors is one of the biggest and most critical challenges facing international law today.
This book is an empirical study of contributions by courts in the Global South to comparative constitutionalism. It offers an analytical framework for understanding these constitutional innovations and illustrates them with a qualitative study of the most ambitious case in constitutional adjudication in Latin America over the last decade: the Colombian Constitutional Court's structural injunction affecting the rights of over five million internally displaced people and its implementation process. Although the ruling (known as T25) was handed down in 2004, its monitoring process continues. This book traces the case's evolution from its origin to its effects on policy, politics and public opinion. It also compares the implementation and effects of T25 with those of other rulings on the rights to health, food, housing, and prison overcrowding in Colombia, India and South Africa. The study's insights will be of interest to scholars of comparative constitutionalism in Latin America, Africa and Asia.