Rethinking International Human Rights Law

By Ankit Malhotra*

Introduction

In the year 1983, Argentina saw the end of a brutal military dictatorship that had killed and led to the disappearance of up to 30,000 people. In the years that followed, forensic anthropologists worked with the families of the disappeared to exhume and identify human remains from mass graves. This operation was momentous. The forensic anthropologists were investigating serious abuses of human rights through the analysis of remains, with the hope of one day bringing the perpetrators to trial. But, they had another goal: to ease the suffering of the living by identifying and returning the remains of the dead to their families. It was from that time that the work of forensic anthropologists began to take on a humanitarian function

Image credit: The New Humanitarian

Since the operation in Argentina, forensic investigations of mass graves have become an almost standard response to mass violence. Similar investigations have taken place in Rwanda, Guatemala, South Africa, and the former Yugoslavia. The common denominator of these countries in terms of their recent history has been that they all have witnessed mass killings. The Argentinian investigation marked the beginning of this era. But, these events are part of a much bigger story about the humanitarian interest in mass deaths. 

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The Initiative concerning Special Economic Zones in Mexico: Is it WTO compliant?

By Emilio Arteaga*

I. Introduction

In September, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced an initiative to create Special Economic Zones that is yet to be approved by the Mexican Congress Senate.[1] The proposed initiative will set forth the legal framework with the intention to mirror successful policies adopted around the globe, such as China’s Special Economic Zones. If the Law is adopted, the President claims that he will create three Special Economic Zones that will be located at the South-Pacific coast in order to take advantage of Mexico’s geographic competitive advantage.[2]

The alleged purpose of this law is to close the alarming economic gap between the North and South of Mexico by creating an enabling business environment and integrating the South with global value chains. While the North and Center of Mexico have attracted considerable amounts of Foreign Direct Investment, developed important industrial hubs, and GDP per capita has increased, the South’s economic development has performed poorly and faces high poverty levels. In order to attract private investment in the south of Mexico, the President announced billions of pesos in infrastructure as well as tax and finance incentives as part of this new economic policy.

Given that subsidies are subject to the disciplines established within the legal framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), one might question whether Mexico’s initiative is WTO compliant. Therefore, this entry explores whether the cited initiative conflicts with WTO Law. By doing so, it will first provide a brief explanation about Special Economic Zones, China’s Special Economic Zones, and the initiative proposed by the Mexican president.Read More »