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The Venice Academy of Human Rights includes this year an opening lecture by Branko Milanović, the author of the most commented globalization chart: the so called ‘elephant chart’, first published in a 2012 World Bank working paper (see also his book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization). A great start to a programme on ‘Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities’, which includes courses by Olivier De Schutter and other prestigious international lawyers. Below are the details of the programme. And yes, I know, this introduction is not needed -it’s in Venice!

Key Facts
Theme: Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities
Dates: Monday, 3 July – Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Application Deadline: 14 May 2017
Faculty: Branko Milanović (opening lecture), Olivier De Schutter (general course), Wilfried Altzinger, Andreas Føllesdal, Dzidek Kędzia, Miloon Kothari, Manfred Nowak, Kate Pickett, Heisoo Shin
Participants: Academics, practitioners, PhD/JSD and master students
Type of courses: Lectures, seminars, discussion sessions and panel presentations
Number of hours: 34 hours
Venue: EIUC, Monastery of San Nicolò, Venice – Lido, Italy

You can view the detailed programme here.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as an Answer to Rising Inequalities
Instead of “the end of history”, we have lived through a major financial crisis, including a debt crisis in Europe that is far from over, and we are currently witnessing threats to democratic governance both from outside and from within the democratic system. Whether these are only temporary setbacks in the global spread of liberal democracy and neoliberal capitalism has to been seen. However, it is reason to pause and reconsider the prospects for economic and social justice against the background of rising inequalities in the world.
The Venice Academy of Human Rights 2017, in co-operation with PluriCourts – Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, looks at these developments from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines law, economics, politics and sociology. Lectures and seminars by the distinguished faculty discuss the question what role do human rights play in enabling and promoting social justice. Are human rights an effective tool for the promotion of economic and social equality? Do human rights impose limits to privatization of particular goods and services? How do human rights enable a just economic and social order? These are but some of the questions that participants of the Academy will discuss in an intense programme over ten days next summer.

Venice Academy of Human Rights
The Venice Academy of Human Rights is an international programme of excellence for human rights education, research and debate. It forms part of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC).
The Academy offers interdisciplinary thematic programmes open to academics, practitioners, doctoral and master students with an advanced knowledge of human rights. Participants attend morning lectures, participate in discussion sessions and workshops and can exchange views, ideas and arguments with leading international scholars and experts. This includes the opportunity for a number of participants to present and discuss their own “work in progress” such as drafts of articles, chapters of books or doctoral theses and receive comments from faculty members and peers.
At the end of the programme, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance issued by the Venice Academy of Human Rights.

Por Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli

Como confesé en su momento, he sido escéptico y algo contrario a la práctica arbitral del derecho de la protección de las inversiones extranjeras, porque me parece desequilibrado (únicamente beneficia al inversor en términos procesales) y fragmentado, ignorando y condenando en muchas ocasiones acciones estatales que perseguían de forma proporcionada fines públicos e intereses erga omnes como los referidos a la protección de los derechos humanos (aunque no ignoro que los Estados en ocasiones recurren a argumentos de este tipo para justificar abusos, aunque en estos casos no es el fin lo criticable, pues loable es, sino el empleo abusivo y erróneo de medidas desproporcionadas o que contrarían la legalidad de otras maneras).

Pues bien, el panorama empieza a anunciar un nuevo amanecer tras esta “oscura noche” del inversor (que no estigmatizo, pues si obra de forma consistente con los derechos humanos puede ciertamente contribuir a su promoción, por ejemplo gracias al empleo de trabajadores, entre otros). Tras la anteriormente comentada decisión en el caso Philip Morris contra Uruguay, donde se dijo que medidas proporcionadas que buscaban proteger el derecho a la salud no vulneraban el principio del trato justo y equitativo, el cual no prohíbe de forma absoluta cambios ni la evolución legislativa o política interna (ver mi comentario aquí), un laudo reciente del 8 de diciembre de 2016 (que se puede leer en este hipervínculo)  en el caso Proceeding between Urbaser S.A. and Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia, Bilbao Biskaia Ur Partzuergoa (Claimants) and the Argentine Republic (Respondent), tiene dos avances notables: en primer lugar, reconoce la posibilidad de interponer contrademandas frente al inversor extranjero en ciertos casos, cuando las cláusulas del BIT respectivo lo permitan por tener cierta amplitud u otras características, como se discute aquí. Además, el laudo que decidió este caso entre Argentina y una empresa española vasca reconoció que un análisis no fragmentado del derecho aplicable, que incluye distintas normas jurídicas internacionales según lo indica la propia y famosa Convención de Viena sobre el Derecho de los Tratados, exige identificar si existen obligaciones no estatales, en concreto empresariales, por ejemplo sobre derechos humanos. Y al respecto el laudo indica que si bien no encontró un deber positivo de promover el derecho al agua las empresas sí que tienen un deber (que defiendo en el Capítulo 6 de mi tesis doctoral, que se encuentra em formato PDF aquí) de abstenerse de violar (no digo abusar, que es un eufemismo jurídico en ocasiones, digo violar) derechos humanos. Cito a continuación extractos pertinentes del laudo:

“[I]nternational law accepts corporate social responsibility as a standard of crucial importance for companies operating in the field of international commerce […] it can no longer be admitted that companies operating internationally are immune from becoming subjects of international law […] The focus must be, therefore, on contextualizing a corporation’s specific activities as they relate to the human right at issue in order to determine whether any international law obligations attach to the non-State individual […] It may be said that these and other [human rights] provisions do not state more than rights pertaining to each individual. Nevertheless, in order to ensure that such rights be enjoyed by each person, it must necessarily also be ensured that no other individual or entity, public or private, may act in disregard of such rights, which then implies a corresponding obligation, as stated in Article 30 of the Declaration : “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any ac- tivity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” (Art. 30) The Declaration may also address multinational companies […] Similarly, the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that States Parties recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions (Art. 11(1) and 12), further providing that “Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights or freedoms recognized herein, or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant” (Art. 5(1)) […] it is therefore to be admitted that the human right for everyone’s dignity and its right for adequate housing and living conditions are complemented by an obligation on all parts, public and private parties, not to engage in activity aimed at de- stroying such rights […] The BIT has to be construed in harmony with other rules of international law of which it forms part, including those relating to human rights […] [peremptory] norms must certainly prevail over any contrary provision of the BIT” (subrayado añadido).

The Venice Academy of Human Rights will take place from 4-13 July 2016 on the topic “Backlash against Human Rights?”. The faculty includes a distinguished opening lecture by Judge András Sajó (Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights), a general course by Robert McCorquodale (BIICL) as well as lectures and discussion sessions with Joseph A. Cannataci (UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy), Helen Fenkwick (Durham University), Mark Goodale (University of Lausanne) and Geir Ulfstein (University of Oslo).
The Venice Academy of Human Rights 2016, in co-operation with PluriCourts – Centre of Excellence for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, discusses the expansion and restriction of human rights regimes, questions of inequality and social change, counter-terrorist laws, same sex unions, privacy and data protection issues as well as the reform of the European Court of Human Rights and UN human rights treaty bodies. The course aims at academics, practitioners, PhD/JSD and master students.
Applications are accepted until 29 May 2016 with an early-bird discount until 24 April 2016.

The Venice Academy of Human Rights will take place from 6-15 July 2015. The theme of this year’s academy is ‘(Dis)Integration through Human Rights: Citizens, Courts, Communities’.

Online applications are accepted until 3 May 2015. The Academy offers an “early bird” registration with a reduced participation fee until 15 March 2015.

Faculty of the Venice Academy 2015

Distinguished Opening Lecture
Albie Sachs, Former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

General Course
Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Queen’s University

Faculty
Armin v. Bogdandy, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg
Andreas Føllesdal, Professor of Political Philosophy at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and Director of the Norwegian Centre of Excellence PluriCourts for the Study of the Legitimate Roles of the Judiciary in the Global Order, University of Oslo
Marc Weller, Professor of International Law and International Constitutional Studies and Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge
Marlene Wind, EURECO Professor and Director of the Centre for European Politics, University of Copenhagen

You can view the detailed programme here.

Key Facts
Participants: Academics, practitioners, PhD/JSD and master students
Type of courses: Lectures, seminars, workshops and discussion sessions
Number of hours: up to 35 hours of courses
Location: Monastery of San Nicolò, Venice – Lido, Italy
Fees: 500 EUR (early bird registration until 15 March), 600 EUR (16 March – 3 May 2015)

Venice Academy of Human Rights
The Venice Academy of Human Rights is an international programme of excellence for human rights education, research and debate. It forms part of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC).
The Academy offers interdisciplinary thematic programmes open to academics, practitioners, doctoral and master students with an advanced knowledge of human rights. Participants attend morning lectures, participate in discussion sessions and workshops and can exchange views, ideas and arguments with leading international scholars and experts. This includes the opportunity for a number of participants to present and discuss their own “work in progress” such as drafts of articles, chapters of books or doctoral theses and receive comments from faculty members and peers.
At the end of the programme, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance issued by the Venice Academy of Human Rights.

I have got a nice email asking “Do you have an idea for a new book?” If so, maybe the new series on Human Rights and International Law of Routledge Law is the place to submit your proposal. The email says:

Edited by Professor Surya P. Subedi (University of Leeds), this series will explore human right law’s place within the international legal order, looking at how human rights impacts on areas as diverse and divisive as, for example, security, terrorism, climate change, refugee law, migration, bio-ethics, natural resources, and international trade. The objective of the series will be to publish books that explore the interaction, interrelationship and potential conflicts between human rights and other branches of international law.

We are now inviting anyone interested in writing a new book to submit your proposals. If you can offer a unique perspective, expert critical analysis and dynamic new ideas on this rapidly developing subject area then please get in touch.

Find out more here.

Vacancy notice for new FRA Director (European Union Agency for Fundamental Righs).

A conference on “The Implementation of the UN Principles on Business and Human Rights in Private International Law” will take place at the Institut Suisse de Droit Comparé, in Dorigni, Lausanne, Switzerland, next 10 October 2014. The conference is organised jointly by the University of Lausanne and the Universitat Jaume I. Here is the information.

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