SHARES blog: ‘The Allocation of International Human Rights Duties (and Responsibilities) to Multiple Duty-bearers’, A Discussion of Samantha Besson’s SHARES Lecture
SHARES blog series on shared responsibility in international law. Discussion of and comments on SHARES lecture by Prof. Samantha Besson on 6 June 2013.
Introduction: During a SHARES lecture on 6 June, Prof. Samantha Besson presented a recently published chapter on the allocation of international human rights duties and responsibilities for human rights in SHARES context. Building on the work of Henry Shue, among others, she offers a theory to bring our understanding of the supply side of human rights to the next level. Due to the complexity of this task, other human rights theorists have so far largely resorted to pragmatic and strategic reasoning instead of forwarding a morally coherent approach. Besson clarifies the steps to be taken as: (i) identification of human rights duties (ii) identification and justification of human rights duty-bearers; and (iii) allocation of human rights duties to human rights duty-bearers. In her contribution to a book on Poverty and the International Economic System, she argues that insufficient delineation of human rights duties and an unreflected use of the term ‘responsibilities’ for human rights has led to a conflation of the two, which diminishes clarity when it comes to identification and allocation of tasks on the supply-side.