Human Rights Abroad: When Do Human Rights Treaty Obligations Apply Extraterritorially?
Oona A. Hathaway, Philip Levitz, Elizabeth Nielsen, Aileen Nowlan, William
Perdue, Chelsea Purvis, Sara Solow, and Julia Spiege
[…] This Article proceeds in three parts. Part I summarizes the jurisprudence of foreign courts, specifically the Supreme Court and Fed eral Court of Appeal of Canada and the U. K. Supreme Court. Part II examines the approach taken by international courts, specifically the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter – American Court on Human Rights, and the International Court of Justice. Part III provides an overview of the positions of U. N. – linked human rights bodies, specifically the Committee Against Torture and the Human Rights Committee.
We conclude by noting that the U. S. executive branch’s consistent position against any extraterritoria l application of these human rights protections makes the United States an outlier in the international context. Nearly every other foreign and international body examined here concludes that countries that exert “effective control” over a territory, perso n, or situation must observe basic human rights obligations. It is our hope that by placing U. S. practice within an international context, we can open up a conversation about how the United States might — in this area as in so many others — once again be a lea der in the development and enforcement of human rights protections in the world. […]