Balancing of Human Rights and Investment Law in the Inter-American System of Human Rights

Pedro Nikken

in Human Rights in International Investment Law and Arbitration

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199578184
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722561 | DOI:

Series: International Economic Law Series

 Balancing of Human Rights and Investment Law in the Inter-American System of Human Rights

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This chapter recalls that the inter-American system of human rights protects property as an individual right. However, the system is not the forum to protect business activity against arbitrary acts of the State. The practice of the Commission and the Court resists mixing wholly economic interests with human rights protection, even if property is involved in the conflict. The inter-American case law contains some solutions for conflicts of law. In cases of conflict between indigenous property and private property, the Court's jurisprudence suggests that human rights prevail over economic rights. Indigenous property is fully protected because it has a function that goes beyond pure economics. In contrast, the protection of other forms of private property is limited to compensation for expropriation. In principle, human rights must always prevail over rights related to international business. The payment of adequate compensation is the solution to meet investments commitments incompatible with human rights obligations.

Keywords: inter-American case law; individual right; economic rights; indigenous property; expropriation; non-applicability; BITs

Chapter.  12614 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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