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The horizontal effect of international human rights law

Towards a multi-level governance approach
PhD ceremony:dr. C.L. (Lottie) Lane
When:May 24, 2018
Supervisors:prof. dr. A.L.B. (Aurelia) Colombi Ciacchi, prof. dr. M.M.T.A. (Marcel) Brus
Where:Academy building RUG
The horizontal effect of international human rights law

A wide range of non-State actors have an ever-increasing effect on the enjoyment of individuals’ human rights. However, the current international human rights law framework does not place any direct obligations on non-State actors; the responsibility for protecting individuals’ human rights lies in the positive obligations of States, which should regulate and control non-State actors through their domestic legal systems. This book assesses how interferences with human rights caused by non-State actors are dealt with under international human rights law and practice, and how a multi-level governance approach could apply to better protect individuals’ human rights from the harmful conduct of non-State actors.

The book provides an extensive comparative analysis of the extent to which international human rights law applies to non-State actors (i.e. the horizontal effect of human rights), examining legislation, jurisprudence and scholarly works at the international, regional and national levels. This analysis demonstrates that in practice three methods are used to apply international human rights standards to non-State actors, but that significant gaps in human rights protection remain. It is suggested that taking a multi-level governance approach to international human rights could fill some of these gaps by providing an inclusive, comprehensive and coordinated governance regime for the protection of international human rights. The two case studies of the World Bank and non-State armed groups are used to show some of the main downfalls of the current international legal framework and to suggest measures that could be taken under a multi-level governance approach to international human rights.