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Full-Text Articles in Law

Does Electoral Proximity Influence Commitment To International Human Rights Law?, Nolan Ragland May 2023

Does Electoral Proximity Influence Commitment To International Human Rights Law?, Nolan Ragland

Baker Scholar Projects

The core international human rights treaties from the United Nations have been signed and ratified by varying groups of states, and much of previous research has been dominated by a desire to explain ratification of international human rights law (IHRL) through the democratic lock-in effect and states’ economic and political ties to one another. In this paper, I seek to understand when states are ratifying IHRL, testing whether the presence of elections influences commitment to three of the nine core international human rights treaties: the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of …


Commentary: Nature-Based Insetting: A Harmful Distraction From Corporate Decarbonization, Nora Mardirossian, Jack Arnold Mar 2023

Commentary: Nature-Based Insetting: A Harmful Distraction From Corporate Decarbonization, Nora Mardirossian, Jack Arnold

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Carbon offsetting is used worldwide on a massive scale, purportedly to mitigate climate change by capturing atmospheric carbon or by increasing or protecting carbon storage. Yet, in recent years, offsetting has been increasingly criticized as a strategy that can harm Indigenous peoples and local communities, exacerbate land inequality, and, paradoxically, worsen the global climate crisis. “Carbon insetting” has emerged as an alternative approach to offsetting that localizes nature-based solutions projects and other greenhouse gas removal activities within company value chains and has been adopted by major global brands such as Nestlé, PepsiCo, and Burberry. This commentary takes a deep dive …


Against Settlement In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad Jan 2023

Against Settlement In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad

All Faculty Publications

In Against Settlement, Owen Fiss argued that settlement may not always be the optimal result of civil suits, particularly those that involve novel or ambiguous areas of law or ostensible power imbalances. That work spurred a range of scholarship around the merits and demerits of settlement. And although the settlement versus litigation debate is now almost four decades old, its currency persists in common law systems in which courts are, at times, called upon to expand or even re-envision doctrines or procedural rules. This article revisits that debate. It applies Against Settlement to transnational business and human rights litigation that …


Combatting Wage Theft In Global Supply Chains: A Proposal For Transnational Wage Lien Laws, Nabila N. Khan Jan 2022

Combatting Wage Theft In Global Supply Chains: A Proposal For Transnational Wage Lien Laws, Nabila N. Khan

LL.M. Essays & Theses

When the world went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, major fashion brands attempted to protect their profits by refusing to pay overseas suppliers for over $16 billion USD of goods between April and June 2020. These decisions had a devastating impact on garment workers who toil at the bottom of the supply chain; thousands of garment workers and their families faced wage theft, dealing with months of unpaid wages, benefits and/or severance pay. In the absence of a regulatory framework to hold corporations responsible, workers, unions, and NGOs resorted to naming and shaming brands into taking action. However, …


The Injustice Of 1.5°C–2°C: The Need For A Scientifically Based Standard Of Fundamental Rights Protection In Constitutional Climate Change Cases, Lauren E. Sancken, Andrea K. Rodgers, Jennifer Marlow Jan 2022

The Injustice Of 1.5°C–2°C: The Need For A Scientifically Based Standard Of Fundamental Rights Protection In Constitutional Climate Change Cases, Lauren E. Sancken, Andrea K. Rodgers, Jennifer Marlow

Articles

In 2015, signatories to the Paris Agreement agreed to the goal of keeping global temperature rise this century to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. Although the adoption of the Paris Agreement was in many ways a political triumph, seven years later many climate advocates are presenting the Paris target to judicial bodies as the de facto legal standard for fundamental rights protection in climate change cases. Yet, the history leading up to the signatories’ ultimate adoption of the Paris Agreement target suggests that the target is …


Judicial Activism In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad Jan 2022

Judicial Activism In Transnational Business And Human Rights Litigation, Hassan M. Ahmad

All Faculty Publications

This article explores a more expansive adjudicative role for domestic judiciaries in the U.S., U.K., and Canada in private law disputes that concern personal and environmental harm by multinational corporations that operate in the Global South. This expansive role may confront—although not necessarily upend—existing understandings around the separation of powers in common law jurisdictions. I canvass existing literature on judicial activism. Then, I detail legality gaps in the selected common law home states, which can be broken down into four categories: i) failed legislation; ii) deficient legislation; iii) judicial restraint; and iv) judicial deference.

I suggest three ways to actualize …


The Right To Food In Puerto Rico: Where Colonialism And Disaster Meet, Gabriela Valentín Díaz May 2021

The Right To Food In Puerto Rico: Where Colonialism And Disaster Meet, Gabriela Valentín Díaz

University of Miami Inter-American Law Review

No abstract provided.


Foreign Cyber Interference In Elections, Michael N. Schmitt Mar 2021

Foreign Cyber Interference In Elections, Michael N. Schmitt

International Law Studies

In the 2020 U.S. elections, Russia authorized and conducted influence operations designed to support former President Trump, although it did not attempt to alter any technical aspect of the voting process. Russia was not alone. Iran mounted a multi-pronged covert influence campaign intended to undercut Trump’s reelection prospects, while other foreign actors–like Lebanese Hizballah, Cuba, and Venezuela–also tried to influence the election. Interestingly, China did not conduct operations designed to alter the outcome, although it did consider doing so. The phenomenon of election meddling, however, extends well beyond the United States to such countries as Austria, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, …


Human Rights And Transnational Organized Crime, Robert Currie, Sarah Douglas Jan 2021

Human Rights And Transnational Organized Crime, Robert Currie, Sarah Douglas

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

This chapter will scrutinize the points at which these two legal regimes intersect with and infuse each other. It will proceed in three sections. The first section will provide a brief overview of the international human rights law system, specifically tailored to ground the following parts. The second section will examine the means by which protection is given to the human rights of individuals who are targeted for criminal investigation and prosecution as a result of their alleged involvement in TOC (referred to for efficiency as “accused persons” or “the accused”). It will first briefly explain the means by which …


Investment Promotion And Facilitation For Sustainable Development, Brooke Guven Jul 2020

Investment Promotion And Facilitation For Sustainable Development, Brooke Guven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Investment is a critical component of sustainable development. In particular, under the right conditions, foreign direct investment (FDI) can improve economic growth and living standards, create jobs, transfer technology and know-how and result in supply chain upgrading. However, its benefits are not automatic, and, if not carefully governed, investment can result in harm to the environment, labour standards and lead to tax evasion or other undesirable outcomes. Investment promotion and investment facilitation, in turn, can help states attract, expand and retain FDI.


Submission To Bonsucro Re Production Standard V5 (2019-21), Nami Patel, Sam Szoke-Burke Jul 2020

Submission To Bonsucro Re Production Standard V5 (2019-21), Nami Patel, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In July 2020, CCSI made a formal submission to Bonsucro, an international multi-stakeholder initiative and certification scheme concerned with promoting sustainable sugar cane production. The submission formed part of consultations for Bonsucro’s draft Production Standard version 5. CCSI’s submission focused on challenges associated with implementing, and auditing for compliance with, three aspects of Bonsucro’s draft standard, namely:

  • Obtaining the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous and traditional communities when establishing or expanding sugar production operations
  • Implementing transparent and participatory processes to assess, monitor, and evaluate the environmental and social impacts of new and existing projects; and
  • Establishing accessible …


Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Apr 2020

Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Comments to USTR Re: U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement (April 28, 2020): CCSI, in response to the United States Trade Representative’s request for public comment to inform its approach to a U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement, submitted Comments elaborating on our main points that (1) investor-state dispute settlement should not be included in any U.S.-Kenya agreement and (2) principles that should guide an investment chapter or investment provisions in any such agreement should (a) strategically support cross-border investment that produces positive development outcomes for the U.S. and Kenya, (b) facilitate and support good governance of investment projects, and (c) enhance cooperation to solve challenges …


A Review Of Sierra Leone’S Mines And Minerals Act, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashausen Mar 2020

A Review Of Sierra Leone’S Mines And Minerals Act, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashausen

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

With the support of Oxfam, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment reviewed select provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and corresponding policy statements from the Minerals Policy 2018 to provide recommendations for how to best align the anticipated new mining law with international best practice. The 2009 law was reviewed with a focus on the following topics:

  • Fiscal regime;
  • Climate change;
  • Access to and use of land;
  • Community consultations and participation;
  • Human rights; and
  • Community development agreements.

The policy brief aims to support the Government of Sierra Leone in the ongoing law reform process.


Electric Utility Alignment With The Sdgs & The Paris Climate Agreement, Perrine Toledano, Aniket Shah, Nicolas Maennling, Ryan J. Lasnick Feb 2020

Electric Utility Alignment With The Sdgs & The Paris Climate Agreement, Perrine Toledano, Aniket Shah, Nicolas Maennling, Ryan J. Lasnick

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda poses a unique and critical challenge to the energy sector: how to scale access to clean energy to power sustainable, economic development for a growing population, while simultaneously decarbonizing global energy supply. Expanding access to clean energy will play a crucial role in achieving nearly every one of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to agricultural production, health outcomes, educational performance, water systems, access to infrastructure, and reducing inequalities. However, practices by some actors in the energy sector, and continued over-reliance on greenhouse gas-intensive fossil fuels also undermine global efforts to mitigate climate change …


Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine Human Rights Related To The Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill Jan 2020

Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine Human Rights Related To The Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Growing cries for action to effectively address the climate and other environmental crises hold important implications for the governance of cross-border investments. Policymakers and environmental advocates have often overlooked how provisions granted by states in international investment agreements (IIAs) have been used by investors to challenge government measures taken in the public interest to protect the environment and advance environmental justice.

This 2019 paper, published in the Sciences Po Legal Review issue devoted to the climate crisis, explains how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, made available to investors in thousands of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements, may …


Outcome Report On The Climate Crisis, Global Land Use And Human Rights Conference, Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Nov 2019

Outcome Report On The Climate Crisis, Global Land Use And Human Rights Conference, Mateusz Kasprowicz, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

On September 27th, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Landesa, the New York City Bar Association International Environmental Law Committee, and Wake Forest Law School hosted a day-long conference on the intersection between land use, the climate crisis and clean energy transition, and human rights.

Held at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, the conference brought together individuals from civil society organizations, governments, and academia, as well as lawyers, climate scientists, land-rights experts, indigenous representatives and other stakeholder groups. The panelists analyzed the critical role that land plays in …


Securing Adequate Legal Defense In Proceedings Under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven Nov 2019

Securing Adequate Legal Defense In Proceedings Under International Investment Agreements: A Scoping Study, Lise Johnson, Brooke Guven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

CCSI prepared a Scoping Study for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Also available are:

  • A summary version of the study (33 pages)
  • A webinar (March 24, 2020), hosted by CCSI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, discussed the Scoping Study and its findings (see also accompanying slides with speaking notes).
  • A webinar organized by UNCITRAL (April 21, 2020). CCSI presented the Scoping Study. A video link of the webinar along with CCSI’s slides are available in English (with speaking notes) and French at that link. CCSI Senior Fellow Karl Sauvant also presented his UNCITRAL …


Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine The Right To A Healthy Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill Nov 2019

Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine The Right To A Healthy Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Our planet faces unprecedented threats, including irreversible global warming, loss in biodiversity, and water pollution and water scarcity. The impacts of these environmental crises also threaten human rights and exacerbate inequality. Slowing these worsening environmental trends – and addressing the impacts of environmental change on populations – will require cumulative policy responses at the national and international level.


Briefing For Civil Society Organizations – Understanding Commercial Eucalyptus Plantations: How Do They Work And What Are Their Environmental Impacts?, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Jul 2019

Briefing For Civil Society Organizations – Understanding Commercial Eucalyptus Plantations: How Do They Work And What Are Their Environmental Impacts?, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

If a company wants to use a community’s land for eucalyptus plantations, the community should think carefully about whether this is a good idea. Civil society organizations that support communities can use this briefing to help communities understand the potential environmental impacts the community should be aware of. The briefing explains plantation forestry and the life-cycle of eucalyptus tree plantations. It also notes the different possible negative environmental impacts of eucalyptus plantations before exploring how this information can be factored into community decision-making about a proposed eucalyptus plantation. While the briefing focuses on eucalyptus plantations, a lot of it will …


The Global Food Security Act: America's Strategic Approach To Combating World Hunger, Michael Adkins Jun 2019

The Global Food Security Act: America's Strategic Approach To Combating World Hunger, Michael Adkins

Journal of Food Law & Policy

The world’s farms currently produce enough calories to adequately feed everyone on the planet. From the 1960s through 2008, per capita food availability worldwide has risen from 2220 kilocalories per person per day to 2790. Specifically, developing countries have recorded a rise in kilocalories per person per day, from 1850 to 2640. Yet, despite overall availability, around 815 million people still suffer from hunger or some form of malnutrition. Approximately one in ten people are undernourished.


Human Rights Law And The Investment Treaty Regime, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson Jun 2019

Human Rights Law And The Investment Treaty Regime, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In its current form, the international investment treaty regime may stymie the business and human rights agenda in various ways. The regime may incentivize governments to favour the protection of investors over the protection of human rights. Investment treaty standards enforced through investor-state arbitration risk adversely affecting access to justice for project-affected rights holders. More broadly, the regime contributes to a system of global economic governance that elevates and rewards investors’ actions and expectations, irrespective of whether they have adhered to their responsibilities to respect human rights. Without comprehensive reform, investment treaties and investor-state arbitration will continue to interfere with …


Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2019

Innovative Financing Solutions For Community Support In The Context Of Land Investments, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Communities affected by agricultural, forestry, and other resource investments urgently need increased funding for legal and technical support. Without support, communities risk losing access to critical land and resources, suffering human rights violations, or missing opportunities to benefit from investments. A lack of community support can also lead to conflict and challenges that are damaging for companies and host governments.

Donors and support providers have found ways to finance support for communities, but such efforts can only extend so far. Promising new opportunities exist for filling the financing gap, yet they will require sustained efforts by a range of actors. …


Bridging The Information Gap: How Access To Land Contracts Can Serve Community Rights, Lara Wallis, Sam Szoke-Burke Jan 2019

Bridging The Information Gap: How Access To Land Contracts Can Serve Community Rights, Lara Wallis, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Land contracts (also known as investor-state contracts, or concession agreements) show what commitments a forestry, farming or renewable energy company has made and what the government has said the company can do on the land. These promises define the positive and harmful effects the company’s project could have on community members’ livelihoods and human rights, and on the environment.

Accessing land contracts is a crucial strategy for local organizations. This briefing note explains how local organizations can use land contracts and the Open Land Contracts repository (OpenLandContracts.org) to help communities to:

  • Understand company and government obligations related to a company …


Borders Rules, Beth A. Simmons Jan 2019

Borders Rules, Beth A. Simmons

All Faculty Scholarship

International political borders have historically performed one overriding function: the delimitation of a state’s territorial jurisdiction, but today they are sites of intense security scrutiny and law enforcement. Traditionally they were created to secure peace through territorial independence of political units. Today borders face new pressures from heightened human mobility, economic interdependence (legal and illicit), and perceived challenges from a host of nonstate threats. Research has only begun to reveal what some of these changes mean for the governance of interstate borders. The problems surrounding international borders today go well-beyond traditional delineation and delimitation. These problems call for active forms …


Framing The Global Pact For The Environment: Why It’S Needed, What It Does, And How It Does It, Teresa Parejo Navajas, Nathan Lobel Dec 2018

Framing The Global Pact For The Environment: Why It’S Needed, What It Does, And How It Does It, Teresa Parejo Navajas, Nathan Lobel

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

We face a critical environmental crisis. Humanity consumes unsustainably; we use resources at a rate fifty percent faster than they are reproduced by the planet. The population is growing exponentially and climate change, the most important challenge of this century, is already wreaking havoc around the world. Despite numerous existing international environmental treaties, the Earth, and, therefore, human safety and prosperity, is in peril. According to a recent study by scientists from Stanford University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the ongoing “sixth mass extinction” threatens to cause an “assault on the foundations of human civilization.” In November 2017, …


The Case For An International Court Of Civil Justice, Maya Steinitz Dec 2018

The Case For An International Court Of Civil Justice, Maya Steinitz

Books

When multinational corporations cause mass harms to lives, livelihoods, and the environment in developing countries, it is nearly impossible for victims to find a court that can and will issue an enforceable judgment. In this work, Professor Maya Steinitz presents a detailed rationale for the creation of an International Court of Civil Justice (ICCJ) to hear such transnational mass tort cases. The world's legal systems were not designed to solve these kinds of complex transnational disputes, and the absence of mechanisms to ensure coordination means that victims try, but fail, to find justice in country after country, court after court. …


Outcome Report Of Roundtable On International Investment Regime And Access To Justice, Michelle Chan, Kanika Gupta, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson Sep 2018

Outcome Report Of Roundtable On International Investment Regime And Access To Justice, Michelle Chan, Kanika Gupta, Jesse Coleman, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

On October 18, 2017, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and the CCSI co-hosted a one-day roundtable on the impacts of the international investment regime on access to justice for investment-affected individuals and communities.

Held at Columbia University in New York, the roundtable brought together 32 individuals from civil society organizations, communities affected by investments at the heart of investor-state claims, governments, academia, donor organizations, UN mandate holders, and other stakeholder groups. The roundtable provided an opportunity for participants to: (i) explore and assess the specific impacts of international investment agreements and investor-state dispute settlement on access …


Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 2: Negotiating Contracts With Investors, Sam Szoke-Burke, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst Sep 2018

Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 2: Negotiating Contracts With Investors, Sam Szoke-Burke, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. If an investment project is carried out in a respectful and inclusive way, it may help community members to achieve their development goals, which may include creating jobs and local economic opportunities. But investments come with risks. Investment projects may make the land that community members need for farming and other livelihood activities unavailable for some time. They may pollute local rivers, lakes, air, and soils, or block access to sacred areas or water …


Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 1: Preparing In Advance For Potential Investors, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst Sep 2018

Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 1: Preparing In Advance For Potential Investors, Rachael Knight, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, Sam Szoke-Burke, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Marena Brinkhurst

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. If an investment project is carried out in a respectful and inclusive way, it may help community members to achieve their development goals, which may include creating jobs and local economic opportunities. But investments come with risks. Investment projects may make the land that community members need for farming and other livelihood activities unavailable for some time. They may pollute local rivers, lakes, air, and soils, or block access to sacred areas or water …


Implementing The Ahafo Benefit Agreements: Seeking Meaningful Community Participation At Newmont’S Ahafo Gold Mine In Ghana, Benjamin Boakye, Maggie M. Cascadden, Jordan Kuschminder, Sam Szoke-Burke, Eric Werker Jul 2018

Implementing The Ahafo Benefit Agreements: Seeking Meaningful Community Participation At Newmont’S Ahafo Gold Mine In Ghana, Benjamin Boakye, Maggie M. Cascadden, Jordan Kuschminder, Sam Szoke-Burke, Eric Werker

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In 2008, ten communities in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana entered into agreements with Newmont Ghana to govern company-community relations, ensure local job creation, and share the benefits of the company’s mining operations. Ten years later, this report, co-authored by Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), CCSI, and ISP, looks at the communities’ experience of those agreements and suggests how the agreements might be improved. Though the agreements were celebrated for their attempts to include all stakeholders in decision-making, challenges remain around representation, consultation, and participation. New entities established to facilitate multi-stakeholder …