Public Procurement and Human Rights: Opportunities, Risks and Dilemmas for the State as Buyer

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Book Review

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Government Procurement, Public Service, Human Rights


Olga Martin-Ortega and Claire Methven O’Brien have edited an important book that centers the human rights questions arising from public procurement processes. Public procurement is susceptible to exploitation by private and public actors. The human rights implications of public procurement in the Global South and Global North have been left to the periphery of critical analysis. Yet, beyond enhancing the process of public procurement for accountability and transparency, the need to ask broader questions of other implications of the process, particularly on citizens, cannot be overemphasized. The fourteen Chapters in Martin-Ortega and O’Brien’s edited book fill an important gap by undertaking an incisive and insightful analysis of the human rights implications of public procurement processes from a cross-disciplinary perspective.

The insightful chapters in this edited book, authored by a diverse set of academics, professionals, and legal practitioners, substantively interrogate public procurement and its interconnectedness to human rights. Overarching themes include national, regional and international legal and institutional frameworks of procurement rules and their relationship with human rights; as well as public procurement practices based on the experiences of professionals and the role of empirical analyses in addressing the challenges that are posed.