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The Emerging Role of Sub-National Human Rights Institutions in the International Human Rights Regime

Wolman, A. (2017). The Emerging Role of Sub-National Human Rights Institutions in the International Human Rights Regime. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, University of Antwerp)

Abstract

In recent years, sub-national human rights institutions (‘SNHRIs’) – defined as independent non-judicial governmental institutions that possess a sub-national mandate, and whose mission includes the implementation of human rights norms – have proliferated in all regions of the world. Yet, the precise role of SNHRIs and the nature of their interactions with other international human rights actors and norms has received relatively little attention. The seven articles that comprise this thesis take a first step toward filling this gap by examining the emerging place of SNHRIs in the international human rights regime. The first article defines and typologises SNHRIs, allowing for a more systematic study of SNHRIs in the rest of the thesis and future research. The next five articles focus on answering three principal research questions. First, what role do SNHRIs occupy in the international human rights regime and how do they interact with other human rights actors? Second, what are the implications of SNHRIs’ emergence as an increasingly relevant actor in the international human rights regime? Third, how can the participation of SNHRIs in the international human rights regime be managed optimally so as to maximize the added value that they can bring to the international human rights regime? As a secondary matter, these articles also engage in a comparative analysis between SNHRIs and National Human Rights Institutions (‘NHRIs’), asking to what extent SNHRIs are similar to or different from NHRIs in their relationships with the international human rights regime.

Specifically, these five articles address the relationship between SNHRIs and NHRIs (chapter 3); the participation of SNHRIs in UN mechanisms (chapter 4); the relationship between SNHRIs and their international peers through networking (chapter 5); the implementation of international law by SNHRIs (chapter 6), and finish with a case study of the Seoul Human Rights Ombudsperson Office, focusing on its relationships with other human rights bodies and the sources of human rights norms utilised (chapter 7). The final article, in chapter 8, examines the advantages and disadvantages of establishing an SNHRI in a jurisdiction that already possesses an NHRI. These articles show that SNHRIs do not exist in isolation from the broader international human rights regime, but rather engage with national and international bodies and norms in a variety of interesting ways. SNHRI engagement with other elements of the international human rights system presents benefits for SNHRIs, as well as for other actors. However, there is room for improvement in the nature of SNHRI interaction with other elements of the international human rights regime, and several specific measures are proposed to ensure a more coherent and mutually beneficial relationship.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Copyright 2017, the author.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JX International law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20555
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