Keywords: Extraterritorial Application; Human Rights Treaties; Jurisdiction; Transboundary Harm; Positive Obligations; Due Diligence.
On February 7, 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered an important Advisory Opinion on the topic of the Environment and Human Rights. Recognizing the interrelation between the right to a healthy environment and the rights protected under the American Convention, the Court ruled on States' responsibility to prevent human rights violations due to transboundary environmental harm. Building upon a new jurisdictional link for the purpose of the scope of application of the American Convention, the Court recognized that States can be held responsible for the obligation to prevent violation of human rights of individuals both inside and outside their territories. The recognition of the jurisdictional link based on due diligence is likely to extend to various scenarios where States exercise control over economic activities having potential detrimental effects on human rights of people located beyond borders, without physical control over territory or persons. Whether the Court could have explained more in detail the requirement of the due diligence obligation in an extraterritorial context, the Advisory Opinion represents a landmark pronunciation on the progressive recognition of 'diagonal' claims against States Parties to the human rights treaties.