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Property in a shrinking planet: fault lines in international human rights and investment law

By: Lorenzo Cotula

Abstract: Long at the margins of international law, property is now among the key challenges facing international law- and decision-makers. A ‘shrinking’ planet and a polycentric international law regime provide the backdrop for contestation between different property concepts and claims. While presenting important commonalities in legal concepts and normative content, international investment law and international human rights law protect different and possibly competing rights, reflect different balances of commercial and non-commercial considerations, and embody different standards of legal protection. As the frontiers of natural resource extraction expand, natural resource investments can bring different property concepts and claims directly into tension. In this context, the articulation between investment law and human rights law influences the ways in which international law mediates competition for the world’s natural resources, redefining the balance between public and private interests and reshaping spaces for the lawful exercise of state sovereignty.

This article in the International Journal of Law in Context was written by Lorenzo Cotula of the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED).

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Uploaded on: Jul 17, 2015
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2015
Year Published: 2015
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