Research event

International human rights law in the urban age

A presentation by Helmut Aust (Freie Universität Berlin). This event is part of the Fundamental Rights Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for Fundamental Rights.

Already today more than half of the world population live in cities and urban settlements. This number is said to increase further significantly. Accordingly, cities and local communities are important places for the realisation of human rights. Yet, the role of local governments in human rights law remains understudied. A recent stream of literature argues that a greater focus on the local level might help remedy some of the shortcomings of human rights implementation by states and their central executives. This talk will critically engage with this literature and determine to what extent international human rights law is increasingly recognising the important role that cities might play in this context. A significant question to be asked in this context is insofar cities are mostly places for the realisation of human rights or whether they also have a particular form of agency, possibly even with a view to transforming international human rights law.

Helmut Philipp Aust, Dr iur, is Professor of Law at Freie Universität Berlin, where he teaches public law and international law. His recent work focuses on the growing role of cities on the global level; he is Co-Chair of the ILA Study Group "The Role of Cities in International Law". His publications include "Complicity and the Law of State Responsibility" (CUP 2011), "The Interpretation of International Law by Domestic Courts" (OUP 2016, co-editor), "Das Recht der globalen Stadt" (Mohr Siebeck 2017) and "The Globalization of Urban Governance" (Routledge 2018, forthcoming, co-editor).