Instructor: Prof. Tarcissio Gazzini, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The course is intended to provide an overview of the main legal questions related to the protection of human rights in the field of foreign investment. It identifies the legally protected rights and expectations of the various stakeholders and analyses how a balance can be struck between public and private interests. The first session deals with the basic principles governing the legal treatment of foreign investment. Using the bilateral investment treaty concluded by Switzerland and China, it emphasises the peculiar nature of the legal relationship between the host State and foreign investors, with particular attention to the settlement of disputes through arbitration. The second session looks at human rights from the standpoint of foreign investors and focuses on two key substantive provisions (fair and equitable treatment and expropriation). The third session examines the protection of the rights of those exposed to the economic activities carried out by foreign investors. It takes a broad perspective that includes the right to development, indigenous people rights, labour rights and environmental rights. The session is completed by a discussion on the concept of social corporate responsibility as it has evolved in the recent practice of States, international organisations and multinational companies.