International Financial Regulatory Standards and Human Rights: Connecting the Dots

51 Pages Posted: 15 May 2018

See all articles by Motoko Aizawa

Motoko Aizawa


Daniel Bradlow

University of Pretoria; American University - Washington College of Law

Margaret Wachenfeld

Themis Research; Institute for Human Rights and Business; Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business; CREER - Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos

Date Written: May 2, 2018


This paper’s hypothesis is that the international standard setting bodies (SSBs) could improve the quality of their international standards by incorporating a human rights analysis. It focuses on five SSBs and seven of their international standards and its findings include the following: First, the standards all implicate the right of non-discrimination, and the rights to information, privacy and an effective remedy. Second, they each raises economic, social and cultural rights issues, including the obligation to allocate ‘maximum available resources’ to the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights; the human rights responsibilities of private actors exercising delegated regulatory authority, and the need for financial decision-makers to account for all the impacts and risks of their decisions and actions. Third, the SSBs’ failure to utilize such international standards as the UNGPs, the PRI, and the Equator Principles means that they have not comprehensively addressed the risk factors facing the financial sector. Fourth, the benefits that the SSBs gain from utilizing a human rights analysis outweigh their costs. Fifth, there are manageable risks to human rights if the financial sector adopts a human rights approach.

Keywords: international economic law, international financial regulation, international human rights, human rights and business

JEL Classification: F02,F30, F38, F53, F55, G00, G18, G28,G38, K20, K23, K33

Suggested Citation

Aizawa, Motoko and Bradlow, Daniel David and Wachenfeld, Margaret, International Financial Regulatory Standards and Human Rights: Connecting the Dots (May 2, 2018). Manchester Journal of International Economic Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Motoko Aizawa

Independent ( email )

Daniel David Bradlow (Contact Author)

University of Pretoria ( email )

Physical Address Economic and Management Sciences
Pretoria, Gauteng 0002
South Africa

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

International Legal Studies Program
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-274-4205 (Phone)
202-274-4116 (Fax)


Margaret Wachenfeld

Themis Research ( email )


HOME PAGE: http://

Institute for Human Rights and Business ( email )

United Kingdom


Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business ( email )


HOME PAGE: http://

CREER - Centro Regional de Empresas y Emprendimientos ( email )



Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics