Do nation states share a responsibility to secure the necessary conditions for a dignified existence?

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This chapter analyses whether nation states have a shared responsibility in international law to secure the necessary conditions for a dignified existence of all human beings. Even though the concept of responsibility is well established in international law, it is primarily discussed in the context of independent state responsibility. Can international law also make sense of the concept of shared responsibility of multiple states for their contribution to a single harmful outcome? This idea of shared responsibility has become increasingly important in our era of globalisation and increased collaboration between states.The first part analyses the concept of shared responsibility in international law, employing deontological arguments on the relation between agency and responsibility. The second part investigates whether multiple states can have a shared responsibility in international law for securing the necessary conditions for people to have their human right to live a dignified life ensured. Can we hold affluent societies responsible when they have set up a global structure of interstate cooperation that violates human rights of the global poor? The ultimate aim of the chapter is to investigate whether the relevant philosophical arguments as developed in this book can be translated into the international-legal realm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Human Right to a Dignified Existence in an International Context
EditorsL. Gunnarsson, U. Mürbe, N. Weiß
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9783848758128
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

SeriesSchriften des MenschenRechtsZentrums der Universität Potsdam


  • shared responsibility
  • international law
  • dignified life
  • globalization
  • human rights

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