Local governments and authorities bear the same duty as central government institutions in performing obligations enshrined in international treaties and general principles of international law. Thus, the obligations of national and local governments to respect, protect and fulfill human rights are shared and complementary. The Draft Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts and their Commentaries stipulate that "the conduct of any State organ shall be considered an act of that State under international law, whether the organ exercises legislative, executive, judicial or any other functions, whatever position it holds in the organization of the State, and whatever its character as an organ of the central government or of a territorial unit of the State” (A/56/10, 2001, Article 4).
Other sources address specific human rights obligations of all spheres of government, as in the following instruments and authoritative legal texts:
- CESCR General Comment No. 4: "the right to housing” (1991), para. 12;
- HRC General Comment No. 25: Article 25 (Participation in public affairs and the right to vote) (1996);
- HRC General Comment No. 27: Article 12 (Freedom of movement) (1999), para. 17;
- CESCR General Comment No. 11: "Plans of action for primary education” (art. 14)” (1999), para. 7;
- General comment No. 12: "The right to adequate food” (art. 11) (1999), paras. 22, 25;
- CESCR General Comment No. 15: "The right to water (arts. 11 and 12 of the Covenant)” (2002), para. 51;
- HRC General Comment No. 31: "The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant” (2004), para. 4;
- CESCR General Comment No. 16: "The equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights (art. 3)” (2005), para. 42;
- "Harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and treaty-specific targeted documents,” HRI/MC/2005/3, 1 June 2005, para. 50;
- CESCR General Comment No. 19: "The right to social security” (art. 9) (2007), para. 73;
- "UN Basic principles and guidelines on development-based evictions and displacement,” Annex I of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, A/HRC/4/18, 5 February 2007;
- "Guidelines on Treaty-Specific Documents to be Submitted by States Parties under Articles 16 And 17 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” E/C.12/2008/2, 24 March 2009;
- UNHRC-AC, "Preliminary research-based report on local government and human rights,” A/HRC/AC/13/CRP.4 (2014).