Despite the recognition of the universality of Human Rights, and the participation of a large majority of countries in the International Human Rights System, States tend to limit their responsibility to within their own borders, which means there is a void in effective protection for Human Rights at an international level, which can also be extrapolated to the protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR). For their part, transnational corporations, as key actors in the process of globalisation, are increasingly being singled out for their role in systematic Human Rights violations.
There are thousands of global Investment Protection Treaties that establish binding judicial frameworks in the interests of the companies, yet there are no instruments that oblige companies to respect ESCR and the environment. At the same time, States, through their foreign policies, actively promote the internationalisation of their companies. This promotion is not accompanied by sufficient control mechanisms to ensure compliance with ESCR and prevent their violation. This document introduces some of the tools and legal frameworks that exist at an international and European level, and examines the specific cases of the Spanish State and Catalonia, with a view to finding ways to increase public control over private actors at an extraterritorial level.