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'Human Rights Cities' in Africa?

‘Human rights cities’ in Africa?

Rights as resources for urban governance in the Global South

This article considers the use of human rights law as a resource for urban governance by African cities, thereby supplementing the growing literature on ‘human rights cities’ that has thus far focused on the experiences of cities in the Global North. It considers the motivations for and impact of human rights city initiatives, before taking a closer look at reported instances of rights invocation in and by African cities and pointing to factors that explain the seemingly limited traction of human rights law for urban local governments on the continent. The article shows that incomplete and politically contested devolution arrangements across African constitutional systems have combined with pressures pertaining to the domestic enforceability of socio-economic rights to structure a somewhat cautious and fraught, but nevertheless promising, relationship between local governments in African cities and human rights law.

Publication available in open access