Human Rights

Research Paper 194, 15 February 2024

Implementation of TRIPS Flexibilities and Injunctions: A Case Study of India

by Shirin Syed

The proponents of intellectual property (IP) have increasingly utilized injunctions with indiscriminate propensity as a strategic tool for IP enforcement, resulting in adverse socio-economic implications, including the enjoyment of human rights. This trend has eclipsed the flexibilities provided in the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. Although a substantial volume of the literature focuses on the flexibilities of compulsory license or scope of patentability, little attention has been given to the flexibilities related to IP enforcement. Discussing the implications of IP enforcement on public interest, the paper examines the gaps in the articulation of flexibilities of intellectual property rights (IPRs) enforcement, with special reference to injunctions in India. It examines how far the courts consider the implications on the enjoyment of fundamental rights while granting injunctions on patents. This paper argues that the Indian courts have deviated from the cautious approach provisioned under the TRIPS flexibilities that allows the courts to consider the public interest aspect and human rights implications while granting injunctions in patent litigation. Moreover, it asserts that the courts should exercise prudence in granting injunctive relief in cases involving patent infringement, and take into account the potential impact of such relief on the exercise of human rights. This suggests a need for a careful examination of the potential implications of injunctive remedies in such cases.

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SC Input to OHCHR Report on Loss & Damage and Human Rights, 7 February 2024

Inputs for the analytical study on the impact of loss and damage from the adverse effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights, pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 53/6 on human rights and climate change

31 January 2024

The adverse impacts of climate related loss & damage on human rights in the Global South require concrete actions. Our submission shows that a just and fair green transition requires protecting human rights while prioritizing the needs of developing countries, especially by providing climate finance, access to green tech and integrating human rights in climate actions.

See the inputs provided by South Centre to an upcoming study by the UN Secretary-General. The study will be presented to the Human Rights Council in September 2024.

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SC Statement at HRC on HRs & 2030 Agenda, 18 January 2024

Statement of the South Centre at the Sixth Intersessional Meeting of the Human Rights Council on Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda

18 January 2024

Leveraging human rights in the fight against illicit financial flows and corruption through greater international tax cooperation and fiscal transparency

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South Centre Report, 16 January 2024

Identifying Legal Challenges for Farmers’ Innovation

By Saurav Ghimire

On 9 October 2023, an expert workshop on “Identifying Legal Challenges for Farmers’ Innovation” was organised at the Centre for Private and Economic Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in collaboration with the South Centre and Université Catholique de Louvain. The hybrid event gathered experts to discuss the challenges for farmers’ innovation, particularly those emerging from regulatory regimes. The workshop brainstormed policy and regulatory hindrances to farmers’ involvement in plant breeding, namely, in access to breeding materials, access to the market and reward/protection for the innovation.

The expert workshop was organised as a part of a joint research project, “Farmers as Plant Breeders: Legal Mechanisms to Foster Farmers’ Innovation”, led by Prof. Christine Frison (Université Catholique de Louvain), Prof. Kim Van der Borght (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), and  Prof. Carlos Correa (South Centre). The research project is funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

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SC Submission to IACtHR, December 2023

Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

Solicitud de Opinión Consultiva presentada por la República de Chile y la República de Colombia

Observaciones remitidas por el Centro Sur

Diciembre de 2023

In reference to the invitation extended by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to submit amicus briefs in the matter of the Request for Advisory Opinion submitted by the Republic of Colombia and the Republic of Chile to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR or the Court) regarding the Climate Emergency and Human Rights. The South Center, an intergovernmental organization of developing countries, respectfully submits to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights the following amicus brief at the request of the Advisory Opinion submitted by the Republic of Chile and the Republic of Colombia.

These observations consider how the definition of shared and differentiated obligations and responsibilities in the legal regime related to climate change is linked to the obligations to cooperate and make reparations arising from the American Convention on Human Rights and the need to consider the right to life and survival of the most affected regions and populations in the various countries and in the region.

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Research Paper 188, 7 December 2023

The Intersection Between Intellectual Property, Public Health and Access to Climate-Related Technologies

By Lívia Regina Batista

On the 20th anniversary of the Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and Public Health adopted by the World Trade Organization, we realize that its impact is beyond issues of public health stricto sensu. The Doha Declaration has inspired discussions at the Council for TRIPS regarding access to climate-related technologies. Climate change is the main and most globalized environmental problem with adverse effects on public health, especially for the vulnerable communities in the Global-South. The main argument of the proponents of the discussion in the TRIPS Council is the need to rebalance public interests (such as public health and environmental/climate issues) with the private/economic interests of the most powerful countries and corporations. This debate addresses both the recognition of intellectual property rights as an important means for the promotion of technological innovation, and the required wider dissemination of technologies – be they medicines or climate-related technologies. This research paper explores the possibilities that the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration create for international transfer of climate-related technologies. Even though such discussions on climate-related technologies have initially failed in linking climate change and public health, as well as the rhetoric of human rights, the relevance of the topic remains. Besides that, the response to public health issues also must learn from the experience in climate change, such as the case studies evidencing the insufficiency and inefficiency of fast-tracking programs to provide for a wider dissemination of technologies – which have now been widely replicated to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Such comparison can also be an entrance point to discuss the public health implications for the international regime on climate change, highlighting that such issues are deeply intertwined, and need to be addressed jointly as well.

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Research Paper 187, 4 December 2023

The Global Digital Compact: opportunities and challenges for developing countries in a fragmented digital space

By Carlos Correa, Danish, Vitor Ido, Jacquelene Mwangi and Daniel Uribe

The adoption of a Global Digital Compact (GDC) as one of the outcomes of the Summit of the Future opens up the opportunity to address in a systematic manner issues that are of critical importance for the digital global governance. It also poses a challenge to developing countries, as most of them lack the infrastructure and capabilities to fully participate in the digital transformation. Many inequalities, including a deep digital divide, do exist and would need to be addressed by the GDC for it to become a real instrument of change and improvement in the living conditions and the prospects of a better future for most of the world population. This paper examines the current fragmentation in the digital governance and some of the issues raised by the proposals made by the UN Secretary-General for adoption of the GDC.

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SouthViews No. 253, 27 October 2023

Harnessing Digital Technologies for Education in Developing Countries: Need for a Judicious Approach

By Kishore Singh

Digital technologies are transforming the landscape of education. New models and ways of learning, digitally supported and virtual, are emerging with rapid pace, multiplying learning pathways and diversifying learning approaches. Digital technologies are impacting education at all levels and in all its forms, and renewal of education by dint of what is termed ‘edu-tech’ has become a buzz word. Harnessing digital technologies for education is enticing for developing countries.

However, the gaze on the dazzles of digitalization must not lose sight of their down side. Considering what has been termed as ‘platform imperialism’, a cautious and critical approach is needed. “Digital divide’ is a crushing blow to the fundamental principle of equality of opportunity in education. Safeguarding education from forces of privatization and ‘edu-business’, fortified by digitalization in education, is also a daunting challenge. We must ward off against deleterious, even dehumanizing effect of digital technologies, as they can be pernicious if they are not properly controlled and regulated.

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SC Statement – 9th OEIGWG on TNCs & OBEs, 23 October 2023

STATEMENT TO THE NINTH SESSION OF THE OPEN-ENDED INTERGOVERNMENTAL WORKING GROUP ON TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND OTHER BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

23 October 2023

The 9th Session of the OEIGWG on TNCs & OBEs began today at UN Geneva, with all eyes on the negotiations of the binding treaty to regulate corporations and promote access to justice for victims of human rights abuses.

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SC Submission to UN WG on B & HRs, October 2023

Submission to the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights for its report on Investors, Environmental, Social and Governance and Human Rights

South Centre

October 2023

The South Centre has contributed to an upcoming report by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights on Investors, Environmental, Social and Governance and Human Rights which will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its 56th Session in 2024. Greater uptake in ESG reporting must be accompanied by mandatory corporate due diligence, accountability & remedies.

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SC Open Consultation – LBI on B & HRs, 18 October 2023

Open Consultation on

The Process to negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights

18 Oct 2023, 15:30-17:00 CEST

This open consultation is an opportunity for participants representing developing countries, civil society and academia to exchange views and discuss the ongoing process to negotiate an international instrument to regulate the human rights impacts of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

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SouthViews No. 252, 21 September 2023

The Right to Development: Principles, Realization and Challenges

 By H.E. Mr. Ali Bahreini

The main theme of the 54th session of the Human Rights Council revolves around economic, social, and cultural rights, with a particular focus on the right to development. This article addresses the importance of the right to development, the Iranian perspective on it, and the impact of various challenges on its full and effective realization.

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