How cities shape international law


How do cities shape international law, and how does international law shape cities? These are some of the main questions the Cities of Refuge team critically engages with. The researchers are contributing to a research handbook on Cities and International Law, edited by Janne Nijman and Helmut Aust. During a writing workshop, in December 2019, Moritz Baumgärtel discussed the role of cities in international dispute resolution. In addition, Barbara Oomen discussed the specific role of cities in shaping the international law of refugees and migration, arguing that cities are ‘breaking the bastion of international law’. These developments can add to international law’s legitimacy and efficiency, but should also be considered critically. What, for instance, are the consequences of the fact that only certain, global, cities are active in shaping the global agenda? What if a larger global role for cities does not enable them to become cities of refuge, but also strengthens room for cities to refuse? Are cities, per definition, more benignant with states? It is with these questions that the Handbook, expected in 2020, will critically engage.