State-to-State Espousal of Human Rights Claims

11 Pages Posted: 8 May 2011 Last revised: 6 Jun 2012

Date Written: April 5, 2011


This short symposium piece examines the use of diplomatic protection and state-to-state espousal of human rights claims. Espousal occurs where a government takes up a claim on behalf of an aggrieved national and presents the claim to another State that was the author of the injury. There is a growing body of international practice (including that of the United States) to allow such claims to be presented in certain circumstances. While such a right to espousal remains permissive, some domestic courts are moving in the direction of holding that such espousals should not be unreasonably or capriciously refused. For the United States, it is highly unlikely that this approach will be adopted, but espousals may continue to be employed, and human rights claims presented, in appropriate cases.

Keywords: espousal, diplomatic protection, State responsibility

Suggested Citation

Bederman, David J., State-to-State Espousal of Human Rights Claims (April 5, 2011). Virginia Journal of International Law, Vol. 1, 2011, Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 11-157, Available at SSRN: or

David J. Bederman (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6822 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)

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