International Law Studies


This article contends that in the upcoming Human Rights Committee proceedings, the U.S. should abandon the categorical argument that its human rights obligations do not apply extraterritorially in favor of a more nuanced approach that reflects the majority position reached by the range of human rights treaty bodies and courts as well as the legal framework applicable to our coalition partners and other allies. The U.S. failure to acknowledge limited, well-established, and principled exceptions to a strictly territorial application of its human rights obligations ultimately undermines the legitimacy of other, more efficacious, arguments at its disposal—such as its position on IHL as the lex specialis in situations of armed conflicts and well-developed justifications for its actions on the merits—as well as its commitment to the human rights system more broadly.