Freedom of association: Its emergence and the case for prevention of its decline

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Freedom of association emerged initially as a right of ‘citizens’ in countries of the North. Gradually, the compass of people able to claim this entitlement was extended and had profound implications for the parameters of acceptable behaviour of business and employers. The grander endeavour to promote international human rights arguably entails universality of entitlement for every human being, going beyond a claim only for a citizen of a particular State. However, the apparent imperatives of global capitalism led to a neutering of this entitlement under international law, resulting in a diminution of its efficacy and content. The chapter closes by considering the corresponding effects in domestic labour markets, namely how nationalistic forms of discrimination and exclusion can now flourish to the detriment of workers and business.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Labour, Business and Human Rights Law
EditorsJanice Bellace, Beryl ter Haar
Place of PublicationCheltenham
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)978 1 78643 310 7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameResearch Handbooks in Human Rights
PublisherEdward Elgar


  • freedom of association, citizenship, human rights, international institutions, global trade, nationalism


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