August Reinisch (2005), 'The Changing International Legal Framework for Dealing with Non-State Actors', In P. Alston (ed.), Non-State Actors and Human Rights, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 37–89.
Individuals are held civilly liable before national courts for genocide and humanitarian law violations. 1 Transnationally operating corporations may equally be held liable for human rights abuses by courts in various countries.2 Firms are boycotted by consumers because they or their subsidiaries or even contractors do not comply with basic labour standards in foreign production sires. 3 The acts of international organizations are annulled by international courts for infringing human rights guarantees of individuals. 4 Lending decisions of international financial institutions are reconsidered if they would have a demonstrable negative human rights impact. 5
These examples are evidence of a radical change of the way we are dealing with human rights issues today. Human rights seem to be everywhere. But are we still talking about traditional 'human rights law'? Where are the good old days when everyone knew that human rights violations can only be committed by states against individuals? Do 'human rights' provide the correct conceptual framework for the problem areas outlined above?