Dinah Shelton

Document Type

Symposium Article


The shift in sovereignty accompanying globalization has meant that non-state actors are more involved than ever in issues relating to human rights. This development poses challenges to international human rights law, because for the most part that law has been designed to restrain abuses by powerful states and state agents. While globalization has enhanced the ability of civil society to function across borders and promote human rights, other actors have gained the power to violate human rights in unforeseen ways. This Article looks at the legal frameworks for globalization and for human rights, then asks to what extent globalization is good for human rights and to what extent human rights are good for globalization. It then considers several legal responses to globalization as they relate to the promotion and protection of human rights. This Article concludes that responses to globalization are significantly changing international law and institutions in order to protect persons from violations of human rights committed by non-state actors.