Human Rights & International Legal Discourse vol:3 pages:301-344
Human rights issues are increasingly raised in the context of international investment disputes brought before international arbitral tribunals. This calls into question the way that international investment law – mainly seeking to promote and protect foreign direct investment – and international human rights law are applied and interpreted in relation to each other. The present contribution examines three types of interaction which may take place between international investment law and international human rights law. Through the examination of these interactions, it attempts to identify ways for the two branches of international law to be applied in a consistent and balanced manner, taking into account the fundamentally different objectives which these branches pursue. The first section analyses the way that investors have recourse to international human rights law to substantiate their own rights under international investment instruments. The second section explores how both investment arbitral tribunals and international investment instruments might reach a fair balance between the obligations of host states towards investors and their commitments with regard to human rights. Finally, the third section touches upon the problems associated with the imposition, through the international investment legal regime proper, of specific human rights obligations on investors. Our concluding remarks address the changes that must be introduced into the international investment legal regime to ensure that it is applied in a balanced manner in relation to international human rights law.