Cristina Lafont on neoliberal globalisation and human rights
Professor Cristina Lafont presented the paper 'Neoliberal globalization and the international protection of human rights' at ARENA on 15 May 2018.
Cristina Lafont presenting her paper on 15 May.
Neoliberal globalization has created a network of international economic treaties and regulations with strong enforcement mechanisms (corporative courts, dispute settlement procedures, etc.) that can directly threaten the ability of states to protect the human rights of their populations. International human rights treaties do not have such strong international enforcement mechanisms. In fact, fears that strong enforcement mechanism could further erode sovereignty motivate different forms of neosovereigntism that advocate minimizing and de-internationalizing human rights standards. According to this view, we should embrace human rights minimalism at the international level such that only a narrow subset of the rights currently entailed in the core human rights treaties can legitimately trigger international action. We should then reinterpret all the other more demanding rights as merely domestic standards that are not matters of international concern. Against this view, I argue that in the context of global neoliberalism, the international enforcement of demanding human rights standards can play an essential role in strengthening the regulatory autonomy of states both within global economic institutions (such as the WTO, IMF or World Bank) as well as in their dealings with powerful private actors such as transnational corporations.