Human Rights, Globalization and the Rule of Law: Friends, Foes or Family?

26 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2006

See all articles by David Kinley

David Kinley

The University of Sydney Law School


The universalization of human rights norms and the global liberalization of corporate and commercial endeavor are two especially conspicuous players on the globalization stage. Both, to some extent, rely on the notion of the Rule of Law to promote their ends, though they rely on different features of the notion in so doing - the latter more on 'certainty'; the former more on 'equality'. Within the context of the growing interest in investigating the relationship of human rights protection and economic enterprise, this article considers what role the Rule of Law plays in this relationship. Specifically, the question of what effect this dynamic has had on the global goal of the protection and promotion of human rights is addressed. The author concludes that as a result, partially, of the sheer complexity of the relationship between human rights and economic globalization, and partially as a result of the limitations of the Rule of Law concept itself, the Rule of Law may be seen as a desirable element of human rights protection, but it is certainly not sufficient. It is only where a less doctrinaire, more pluralistic approach to the mechanics of human rights protection is pursued - that is one incorporating political, social and economic, as well as legal dimensions - does such protection stand a chance of being delivered.

Keywords: Human rights, globalization, rule of law, economic and social rights

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K33

Suggested Citation

Kinley, David, Human Rights, Globalization and the Rule of Law: Friends, Foes or Family?. UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 239-264, 2002-2003, Available at SSRN:

David Kinley (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006

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