The Exploration of Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations in International Human Rights Law

Research by Professor Skogly

Professor Skogly’s research into ‘The exploration of extraterritorial human rights obligations in international human rights law’ focused on whether and how international human rights law provides for obligations for states outside their own borders; or in other words whether a state has responsibility for the human rights effects of their international cooperation or foreign policy on individuals in foreign states. The impact of the research has been focused through the establishment of an international consortium on extraterritorial human rights obligations in 2008; the Consortium is comprised of approximately 70 organisations – NGOs, academic institutions, and individuals within the United Nations human rights institutions and civil service. The research which led to the establishment of the Consortium, has demonstrated how human rights law is relevant for international interaction in times of globalisation. The work of the Consortium (of which Professor Skogly was a founding member), is currently divided into three paths: work on the dissemination and wider recognition of the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (adopted by a group of experts in September 2011), the engagement with state officials and the United Nations to approve and integrate the principles within their human rights work; and to engage actively with NGOs worldwide to educate and implement the principles in local and regional human rights work.

Professor Skogly’s research focused on a doctrinal elaboration of the foundations for extraterritorial human rights obligations through archival research in the United Nations and an analysis of the traveaux preparatoires of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other international treaties containing provisions for international cooperation. It further analysed case-law from international, regional and national courts, and opinions of international quasi-judicial bodies. Finally the research was informed by a systematic analysis relevant academic literature.