Published 7 December 2016
The topic of our conference, "International trade, Investments and Human Rights," is a broad one. It is also a bit of a moving target, and this is of course because the sphere of activity that we call "international" is essentially about the movement of people, goods, services and capital across borders, from one country to another, on a global scale. International law in turn is, in the simplest terms, about the regulation of these activities and about the settlement of disputes that arise in this cross-border context.
Depending on the historical context, cross-border movement of people, goods, services and capital may be more or less dynamic, or more or less static - the process of globalization may accelerate, and it may also slow down (which, technically speaking, is also form of acceleration), as most of us now recognize. Cross-border movement of people, goods, services and capital may also be more or less free or voluntary, and it may also amount to mass displacements which in practice are only rarely, if ever, voluntary. However, as such mass movements may not only be involuntary, but also deliberately intended or even forced by those behind them, further reflection on these issues would quickly take us well beyond our limited agenda today, to the unruly realm of international politics. We will therefore limit our focus on the existing regulatory framework, including the legal framework for resolution of disputes.
Presentation made on 24 November 2016 at the 70th Anniversary Seminar of the Finnish Branch of the International Law Association on "International Trade, Investments and Human Rights."