The Regulation of Space Activities: A Human Rights Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


The three decades after the Second World War saw the development of several very significant legal instruments that codify both the fundamental rights and freedoms that underpin international human rights law, and the foundational principles that form the basis of international space law. The so-called “Twin Covenants”, which incorporate into treaty form the fundamental principles set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, were negotiated – sometimes quite fiercely – at precisely the same time that the “space race” began and the most important rules of space law were developing.
Yet, these two significant law-making processes were conducted largely in isolation from each other, particularly due to the State-centred geopolitical context of outer space at the time, as opposed to the “State vis-à-vis the individual” focus of the human rights instruments. Although some issues, particularly the right to information and freedom of expression, were occasionally raised in the ideological debates about the use of outer space, the intersection between international human rights principles and outer space has not, since that period, figured largely in the scholarship.
Yet, the very essence of the «benefits for all» principle in Article 1 of the Outer Space Treaty, as well as the important and recurring theme of «the needs of developing countries» throughout the relevant United Nations instruments, suggest that broad issues of how such activities impact on individuals and communities are important underlying questions regarding the ongoing regulation of humankind’s adventures in outer space.
Professor Marchisio has had a life-long reputation as a champion of the “humanity” of space and the application of international law more generally and, in homage to his work, this brief chapter references a few areas (and there are many more) of overlap which require that the exploration and use of outer space be considered from a human rights perspective. This is important since our fundamental rights and freedoms can and should represent important factors in shaping the international legal regulation of outer space through both “hard” and “soft” law instruments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiber Amicorum Sergio Marchisio: Il diritto della comunità internazionale tra caratteristiche strutturali e tendenze innovative
Place of PublicationNapoli, Italy
PublisherEditoriale Scientifica
ISBN (Print)979-12-5976-288-7
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'The Regulation of Space Activities: A Human Rights Perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this