Towards a right of peoples to participation in global governance

Jones, Natalie 

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This thesis develops an account of the right of peoples to participate in global governance affecting them. It starts by exploring at a conceptual level the principle of self-determination in international law and its associated rights, showing that the law of self-determination has evolved in a remedial and relational way to address situations of the dominance of peoples by states. The thesis outlines the rise of international organizations and global governance and the accompanying shift of regulatory authority from the national to the global level, and demonstrates that the activities of international organizations can profoundly affect peoples' rights and interests. On this basis, it argues that a new remedy is required: a right of peoples to participate in global governance activities affecting them, with correlative obligations held by states and international organizations. The thesis explores the scope and limitations of the proposed right.

The thesis shows that, doctrinally speaking, positive international law lends some, limited support to the existence of the proposed right, but that, ultimately, a right of peoples to participate in global governance is not (yet) part of positive international law. The thesis draws on empirical research regarding the practice of international organizations and states to assess the extent to which the proposed right constrains the behaviour of international organizations and states acting through them, creating an extensive map of practice. It explores a myriad of instances of mechanisms, policies, and practices adopted by international organizations enabling peoples to be heard in processes affecting them, suggesting that there is an emerging standard of conduct corresponding to the proposed right and obligations. It will suggest that this practice is in part motivated by a belief that the participation of peoples in matters concerning them enables international organizations to more effectively carry out their functions and fulfil their mandates.

Benvenisti, Eyal
global governance, international law, indigenous peoples, self-determination, human rights, collective rights, group rights, participation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
Funding was received from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, the Whewell Scholarship, and Graduate Women New Zealand.