Human Rights in International Investment Law

Author ORCID Identifier

Barnali Choudhury: 0000-0002-5762-2957

Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

Bungenberg, M., Krajewski, M., Tams, C.J., Terhechte, J.P., Ziegler, A.R. (eds) European Yearbook of International Economic Law 2020. European Yearbook of International Economic Law, vol 11. Springer, Cham.


Covid has highlighted the pre-existing weaknesses in the social structure that leave vulnerable members of society at risk. This has reinforced the importance of states being able to protect their nationals’ human rights. A state’s role in this regard has been recognized not only by society but by business as well. Yet while progress is being made in these areas, international investment law remains bereft of increased attention to matters of human rights. Indeed, reforms in this area remain primarily procedural in nature.

This essay argues that issues of human rights must be given greater consideration in international investment treaties. Businesses are being asked to give greater attention to human rights matters in almost every area apart from international investment treaties. To ensure international investment law aligns with progress in other areas of the law, international investment law must delineate a role for human rights. This can be achieved, among other ways, through independent provisions on human rights, investor obligations, and carve-outs.