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The CSIPDHR takes part in an expert meeting on human rights cities organized by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency

Last November 27 and 28, a group of local government representatives and human rights experts gathered in Brussels to discuss how to strengthen the local governments for human rights’ movement across the European Union. The meeting was convened by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), which intends to launch a common “framework of commitments” on this issue, with a view to better identify and understand the movement of local governments for human rights at a European level. This includes processes, tools and public policies implemented. This process also intends to strengthen a shared strategy to achieve larger and better recognition of these local commitments by EU institutions.

This meeting showed that each human rights city is different and that a single model that encompasses and classifies them all can hardly be put in place. Some participants, however, stressed the need to better recognize the efforts made by local authorities on this issue; perhaps by creating some sort of human rights city “label”. This initiative should be based on a common understanding by stakeholders involved, or a “process method” that would make it possible to launch a local initiative to attain this form of recognition as city. Participants to the meeting widely supported the need to build cities’ capacities when it comes to implementation and knowledge exchange, all of which can result into an enhanced framework for regional networking. Citizen participation was identified as a defining feature of this process too.

Key thematic discussions took place on the second day of the meeting, which included a full program of thematic exchanges, workshops and debates between local authorities, relevant organizations (including representatives of the OHCHR and academia) as well as FRA officials. A theoretical and practical overview of the concept of “human rights city” preceded two simultaneous working groups which focused on elaborating concrete proposals around the idea of a renewed “framework of commitments” by human rights cities in Europe. More specific discussions took place during the afternoon sessions.

[ Read the meeting's report by FRA ]

The organizing institution (FRA) will follow up on this meeting in the coming months, bringing together local authorities and relevant organizations in Europe to address more closely several issues like the above-mentioned “framework of commitments” or the human rights cities “label” initiative.

The CSIPDHR will continue to take part in this process and to inform its members, encouraging their participation as well. This is a good opportunity to build on or strengthen the links with other regional initiatives, such as the European Charter for Human Rights in the city (2001) follow-up process – initiated by a European meeting organized by the CSIPDHR during Barcelona’s 2018 Cities for Rights Conference. This regional initiative will nourish the global movement of local governments for human rights.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about this process.