What's human rights got to do with outer space? Everything!

Steven R. Freeland, Ram S. Jakhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


The post-Second World War period saw the conclusion of a number of very significant legal instruments that set out to codify the fundamental rights and freedoms that underpin international human rights law. The ‘twin covenants’, which incorporate into treaty form the principles set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, were being negotiated – sometimes quite fiercely – at the same time that the ‘space race’ began and the most important rules of space law were developing. Yet, these two significant evolutionary law-making processes were conducted largely in isolation from each other, particularly due to the State-centered geopolitical context of outer space at the time. 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 largely been ignored. This paper will seek to analyse the way in which the use and exploration of outer space should be considered from a human rights perspective and explain how our fundamental rights and freedoms can and should represent a very important factor in shaping the international legal regulation of outer space through both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law instruments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 65th International Astronautical Congress 2014 (IAC 2014)
Subtitle of host publicationOur World Needs Space
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63439-986-9
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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