Local government and human rights: Building institutional links for the effective protection and realisation of human rights in Africa
Bosire, Conrad Mugoya
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There is increasing recognition of the role of local government in the protection and realisation of human rights obligations. Recent studies on links between local government, decentralisation and human rights are evidence of this growing recognition. In Africa, there are newly-formed pan-African institutions on local government. Local authorities and national local government associations have also formed a regional association. National ministries in charge of local government have formed a regional inter-ministerial forum on local government and decentralisation. This trend is replicated at sub-regional levels in Africa. While the place and role of local government in international human rights law are not yet fully understood, the formation of these institutions provides an appropriate avenue for the same. The article makes a case for institutional collaboration between these regional institutions, sub-regional institutions and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in order to achieve more effective rights protection. While this article presumes that such institutional collaboration will lead to better protection of human rights, it makes a further argument that this will only happen where the specific gaps identified are addressed to strengthen the role of local government in human rights.