Journal Article

Localizing Fundamental Rights in the European Union: What is the Role of Local and Regional Authorities, and How to Strengthen It?

Axel Marx, Nicolas Hachez, Katrien Meuwissen, Pierre Schmitt, Jakub Jaraczewski, Tamara N. Lewis, Kolja Raube, Joanna Roszak, Klaus Starl, Dolores Morondo Taramundi, Anna-Kaisa Tuovinen and Amy Weatherburn

in Journal of Human Rights Practice

Volume 7, issue 2, pages 246-271
Published in print July 2015 | ISSN: 1757-9619
Published online April 2015 | e-ISSN: 1757-9627 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhuman/huv004
Localizing Fundamental Rights in the European Union: What is the Role of Local and Regional Authorities, and How to Strengthen It?

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Recent literature has pointed to the importance of localizing fundamental rights in order to further strengthen their effective protection. In this context attention has been paid mainly to civil society organizations, but not as much to local and regional authorities. What role can local and regional authorities play in enforcing fundamental rights in the European Union (EU)? To answer this question the paper starts with an inductive approach. It identifies and describes some interesting examples of how local and regional authorities (LRAs) within the EU may contribute to the protection of fundamental rights. The article presents seven examples, from different countries within the EU, of how local and regional authorities can strengthen the enforcement of fundamental rights. Next, the article aims to develop a more general typology of the different roles LRAs can play in the protection of fundamental rights. It identifies four distinctive roles local and regional authorities can play. First they can contribute to the enforcement of fundamental rights through monitoring as a rule intermediary. Second, through budget allocation and service provision they can encourage initiatives from other actors to reinforce the protection of fundamental rights. Third, they can support higher level governance policies through awareness-raising. Finally, they can play a coordinating role, bringing together several actors to enforce fundamental rights. In a third part, the article turns to the question of how the impact of these roles can be strengthened, and several proposals are presented. We end with a short conclusion and outlook for future research.

Keywords: enforcement; fundamental rights; local authorities; multilevel governance

Journal Article.  10408 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates ; Human Rights and Immigration ; Human Rights ; Politics ; Social Movements and Social Change

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