Assessment and Participation Through Human Rights Impact Assessments

  • Vivian Kube
Part of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Rights book series (CHREN, volume 4)


States and international organizations have for some time promulgated Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA) as the major instrument for bringing trade agreements in line with human rights obligations. This chapter explores the role that the EU approach to HRIAs is playing and can play in overcoming the inequality of rights protection in the international investment regime. In order to do so, HRIAs must be able to comprehensively assess all interests at stake and empower those that are underrepresented. This chapter tests the EU theory and practice for whether they are fit to do so. First, this chapter outlines briefly the international norms and discourses on HRIAs (Sect. 6.2.1) and relevant constitutional principles of EU law (Sect. 6.2.2)—both with a focus on the inclusivity and empowerment dimensions. This is the legal framework which the EU rules and practice will be measures against. In order to so, the chapter clarifies which rules make up the EU legal and soft law framework for HRIAs, divided into the rules on design, on procedures and on the legal nature or in other words the legal consequences (Sect. 6.3), bringing to light the conceptual shortcomings. The section on the EU practice finds further shortcomings at the implementation stage in terms of the substantive scope that is applied, in terms of participation and representation, in terms of transparency and independence and those shortcoming that flow directly from the conceptual limitations (Sect. 6.4). However, by exposing the linkages between HRIAs and the inequality problem of EU investment policy also the potentials become visible. This chapter therefore also aims to highlight the possibilities for reforms—from marginal to more imaginary.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vivian Kube
    • 1
  1. 1.HamburgGermany

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