International and Comparative Law
537: Human Rights in the Global Economy
Human rights issues have come to the fore front around the world, in courts and legislatures, in corporate board rooms, in the corridors of the United Nations and the international trade and financial institutions. This emergence and universalization of human rights has arisen as the promotion and globalization of free markets through trade liberalization, flows of foreign direct investment and finance across national boundaries has intensified. This course will examine how the growing influence of the international human rights framework is implicated in settings such as the overseas manufacturing operations of companies like Apple, in extractive industry mining activities such as those involving ‘blood’ diamonds, and in China’s huge infrastructural projects particularly in Africa. These case studies and more will be examined in light of the history and theoretical origins of human rights such as rights to food, housing, health, education, cultural expression, political participation, and prohibitions of discrimination and violence. The course will examine a variety of responses to these case studies as they relate to the legal framework under major international and regional human rights treaties and how international, regional, and domestic courts, (including federal courts under the Alien Tort Statute), and other actors have interpreted them. No prerequisite is required.