Civilising Globalisation: Human Rights and the Global Economy

15 October 2009

Professor David Kinley's new book,Civilising Globalisation: Human Rights and the Global Economy was recently launched in New York by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law School, which released this report:

On September 30, 2009, CHRGJ and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre co-hosted a book launch for Professor David Kinley's new work "Civilising Globalisation: Human Rights and the Global Economy." The event consisted of a conversation-style discussion between Professor Kinley, who holds the inaugural chair in Human Rights Law at Sydney University, and Professor Philip Alston, the John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at NYU School of Law and Chair of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. Questions from the audience were interspersed throughout the conversation.

The event began with a brief introduction by Andrew Goledzinowski, a career diplomat presently serving as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia at the United Nations. He delivered brief comments on the parallels between globalization and global warming, and then introduced Professor Kinley's book.

Professor Kinley then introduced the three main questions he posed in the book:

1. What is the relationship between human rights and the global economy?
2. How do we make the global economy meet human rights ends?
3. Who is responsible for making this process happen?

He concluded this introduction by asserting that the responsibility ultimately rests with States, given their jurisdictional hold and the fact that they were the ones that created our international entities.

The conversation between Professor Kinley and Professor Alston dealt with several themes. Professor Alston asked Professor Kinley about the specific approach to his globalisation focus; corporations and human rights; the human rights-based approach to development; and the extent to which the emerging political philosophy of liberalism is not necessarily assured in all countries.

Additionally, questions from the audience dealt with a range of topics, including the role of trade law, the World TO and the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism; the impact of bilateral treaties on the strength of multilateral treaties; recommendations for a program to civilize globalization; and where and which states we should put the onus on in terms of state leadership in growing the relationship between business and human rights.

Professor Kinley made several main points in the very sophisticated discussion. He spoke about how both the corporate community and the human rights community had to engage in the business and human rights discussion. In that vein, he challenged the human rights community to present human rights in a more accessible manner. Professor Kinley also discussed how the human rights-based framework for development has a value in and of itself. He asserted, however, that the main focus should be on the development ends, regardless of the framework employed.

A large audience attended the book launch, including representatives of various NGOs, diplomats, academics and other interested members of the NYU community and the public.

David Kinley holds the inaugural chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Sydney. In addition to his academic posts, David has worked for 15 years as an adviser to governments, corporations, NGOs, the UN and the World Bank on international and domestic human rights law in Australia, Burma, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.

Pascal Lamy, Director General of the WTO, said of Civilising Globalisation: "Professor Kinley offers a thoughtful assessment of two indispensable elements in our society today: global economic progress and human rights." The book explores how human rights standards can guide international trade, aid and business.

Philip Alston is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, and Chair of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. He is currently Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals, and UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. From 1991 to 1998 Philip was Chair of the UN Committee on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.

Co-hosted by:
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: an international non-profit organization, tracking the human rights conduct (positive & negative) of over 4500 companies worldwide

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 314120237c004709400e1656212745391b221a30650d023a5b4a46