The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.

Human Rights and International Investment Law: Investment Protection as Human Right?

Nicolas Klein



Legal research conceptualized the relationship between International Investment Law (IIL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL) until recently rather as opposing fields of law with colliding policy interests as well as contradictory rules and regulations. However, lately a new approach is gaining increasing support in the academic community: Investment protection could be understood as being part of human rights law. Such a conclusion may be perceived as highly controversial, however, from a conceptual perspective IIL and IHRL share more common ground than differences. This article will argue, first, that certain material standards of IIL can be conceptualized to be human rights-like guarantees of a minimum standard of protection and second, that such an understanding does not lead to a neoliberal proliferation of economic rights but, to the contrary, may serve as an important conceptual tool to prevent overly extensive interpretations of investment treaties and to balance economic rights with other human rights in case of norm conflict. After all, IIL could prove to be not more, but also not less, than "One Out of a Crowd" of all other fundamental human rights.


Download the full text as a PDF