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Prepared by Özgür Can and Sara Seck, for the ECA-Watch, Halifax Initiative Coalition and ESCR-Net
International human rights law has traditionally focused on establishing the obligations owed by states to individuals. Much recent attention has been given to the question of whether non-state actors, such as transnational corporations, can be considered subjects of international law and as such duty bearers of international human rights obligations. However, less attention has been given to the equally significant question of whether financiers of transnational corporate activities have an obligation to ensure that the activities they support comply with international human rights norms. This paper will explore the international human rights obligations of one type of financial institution: officially supported export credit and investment insurance agencies (Export Credit Agencies or ECAs). ECAs are primarily public or publicly mandated institutions that support and subsidise national trade and investment activities, particularly in developing and emerging markets.