This study investigates the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), between the European Union (EU) and sub-Saharan African countries and how it affects the realisation of the right to development (RTD) in sub-Saharan Africa as well as whether the EU has an extraterritorial human rights obligation to respect RTD in sub-Saharan Africa. It further examines the concept and various meaning of development and looks at the historical view, nature and content of the RTD, the legal basis for the RTD globally and under the African human rights system as well as its implementation and monitoring mechanism.
In this study the meaning of extraterritorial human rights obligations is examined, in terms of principle 8 of the Maastricht Principles on Extra-territorial Obligations of States in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It includes first, ‘Obligations relating to the acts and omissions of a State, within or beyond its territory, that have effects on the enjoyment of human rights outside of that State’s territory’ and secondly, ‘obligations of a global character that are set out in the Charter of the United Nations and human rights instruments to take action, separately, and jointly through international cooperation, to realise human rights universally.’
This study finds that, at the global level, the RTD is commonly recognized by the international community but not really legally binding. However, under the African human rights system, the RTD is guaranteed under Article 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (the African Charter) and is binding on the African States which are signatories to the African Charter. Furthermore, the present EPAs and the negotiating process have a negative impact on the realisation of RTD in sub-Saharan Africa. The EU has extra-territorial human rights obligation under the TEU, TFEU and the EU Charter. Although the EU is not a signatory to the Declaration on the right to development neither is she a signatory to the two Conventions but has respected the rights protected under the two Conventions extra-territorially. Therefore, the EU can leverage its extra-territorial human rights obligation under the TEU to respect and promote the realisation of the RTD in Africa through its trade relations.