"Municipal disobedience": an analysis of the power of local governments to protect migrants' human rights by challenging national policies

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Dimitroula, Ann Michelle
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In the context of recent global economic and political shifts expanding the role of local governments and the trend of increasingly restrictive measures on migration to the EU and US, this thesis examines how and why local governments are challenging national rightsrestricting migration policies through acts of municipal disobedience and what impact these actions have on the protection of migrants’ human rights. Drawing on concepts from the fields of public policy and human rights, the research provides a new way of approaching local government engagement with human rights, focusing on the question of local government power and its source in analyzing case studies of defiant local government policies in Utrecht and San Francisco. The findings reveal that local governments, driven by legal and pragmatic concerns, have power to positively impact human rights, derived from structures of governmental authority, their role in policy implementation, policy diffusion, and ability to influence the national and public debate This suggests that more attention should be paid to local governments in the field of human rights as they have ample power and a unique position to contribute to the protection of human rights within and beyond their jurisdictions.
Second semester University: University of Vienna.
human rights, international and municipal law, local government, migrations