This article recognizes the emergence of a new conceptualization of human rights obligations. It identifies this novel tendency in different families of normative mechanisms: the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine and the “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) instruments. This article connects the dots between those mechanisms, and frames them together as a common interpretive development – the emergence of Human Rights Responsibilities (HRR) norms.
Although those mechanisms regulate different entities in different spheres and settings, they both share common characteristics. The common ground of those norms is their reliance on the concept of “responsibility” to describe human rights commitments, instead of the concepts of “duty” or “obligation.”
Human rights law has always considered the relationships between states and their citizens as the main source for human rights commitments. The HRR norms define new kinds of relationships as a source for human rights commitments, and at the same time modify fundamentally the content of the commitments.
WPS 06-16 (pdf)