National Human Rights Institutions and Their Sub-National Counterparts

The Question of Decentralisation

In: International Human Rights Law Review
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  • 1 Professor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Seoul, Korea; member of the Law and Development Research Group, Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp

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This article outlines and explores the arguments in favor of and in opposition to the establishment of sub-national human rights institutions (such as state and local human rights commissions, ombudsmen and the like) in nations that already possess national human rights institutions. This analysis will be based on an application of prior research findings in the broader field of administrative decentralisation as tailored to the particularities of human rights implementation. Where relevant, the article also examines the implications of institutional type for decentralisation, as well as the implication of different attributes of the relevant jurisdiction. The article concludes by setting out the circumstances under which the establishment of sub-national human rights institutions will be more or less advantageous.