When Global Becomes Municipal: Cities Internalizing International Human Rights Law
Posted: 19 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 23, 2020
International human rights law is most efficacious when it is both incorporated into domestic law and translated into local contexts. Yet, cities as rights implementers have received little scholarly attention. This paper explores municipal internalization of international human rights law through examination of San Francisco and Los Angeles’s binding ordinances implementing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The research demonstrates that municipal ordinances represent robust, alternative mechanisms to actualize human rights to large urban constituencies. Nevertheless, sub-national internalization of international law is theoretically distinct. Not all cities have substantial federated authority to act on a broad array of rights issues, and even with such authority, the scope of issues is delimited. Cities are also legally, and increasingly ideationally, isolated from the human rights treaty monitoring bodies, which means that accountability mechanisms are underdeveloped, and that the ordinances may evolve apart from international developments and understandings.
Keywords: Women’s Rights, CEDAW, Cities
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