What Global Human Rights Obligations Do We Have?

  • Citation: Pribytkova, Elena. "What Global Human Rights Obligations Do We Have?." Chicago Journal of International Law 20.2 (2020)
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • human rights
    • global obligations
    • global justice
    • poverty
    • inequality

This Article explores global human rights obligations, which form the least elucidated and the most unfulfilled type of extraterritorial obligations. Global obligations represent a key legal tool for empowering the most vulnerable individuals and social groups, promoting social justice, and reducing extreme poverty and inequality worldwide. Despite their importance, global obligations have not yet received adequate legal recognition, regulation, and realization. The Article outlines the main contours of the conception of global obligations. While defending a human rights-based cosmopolitan concept of justice, it addresses issues surrounding the nature, status, content, scope, and hierarchy of moral duties towards non-compatriots and shows under which conditions and to what extent these duties should be recognized as human rights obligations of multiple actors. The Article aims to demonstrate that global obligations are morally justified human rights obligations that bind all members of the international community and require their legal regulation and implementation. It suggests a new classification of global obligations and stresses their significance for the enjoyment of guarantees of relational and distributive justice, as well as for promoting a shift from a state-centered to human-centered global order. It also seeks to uncover the interrelation between philosophical discourse, normative legal order, and legal practice. The Article explains how contemporary theories of global justice can contribute to the justification, conceptualization, allocation, and implementation of global obligations. It translates philosophical ideas into the language of law and incorporates empirical findings in relation to global obligations. At the same time, it examines whether human rights theory and practice regarding global obligations are capable of, and essential to, solving widely debated issues of global justice.

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