Mercociudades fosters local government cooperation on human rights in Latin America

The growing interest that human rights arise among local governments across the world is gaining ground in Latin America. Whether as a tool to advance migrants’ inclusion, a platform to revamp citizen participation or a framework to promote historical memory, a new generation of local leaders in Latin America is embracing human rights as a way to promote new policies and forms of regional cooperation.

Mercociudades’ Human Rights Commission brings together this present interest with the long tradition of local government cooperation on human rights in Latin America. It is no coincidence that several key contributions to the global human rights cities movement come from this region: From the world's first "Human Rights City" (Rosario, 1997) to international documents of such relevance as the Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City (2010).

On August 10, Mercociudades held a new meeting of its Human Rights Commission in the form of a local government discussion on human rights and migration policies. Representatives from Montevideo, Quilmes, Cordoba and Lima took the floor during the meeting, as well as from the “La Diversidad que Hay en Ti” and Coalición LAC initiatives. They presented both local initiatives - i.e. public policies - as well as regional cooperation initiatives.

These words by Fernando Collizzolli, Director of International Relations of Quilmes and representative of the Commission's sub-coordination, summed up the spirit of the event: Fernando Collizzolli

« We consider human rights, diversity and pluralism an inspiration and a fundamental framework to advance our local political project. Human rights are also a meaningful platform to generate new public policies that help us promote social inclusion in our cities »

The coordinator of our Committee, Amanda Fléty, was invited to participate in this discussion to share the outcomes of local government exchanges on human rights within our network. She especially highlighted the relevance of human rights in addressing social needs arisen during the pandemic, but also to rethink the local social contract and the same notion of citizenship (here's a good example about Local Citizenship).

She encouraged the strengthening of dialogue between regional and global human rights initiatives. In this regard, she shared the axes of our human rights roadmap for the 2021/22 period: Renewal of the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City; human rights cities global campaigning; and reinforcement of the e-learning agenda.

The event aimed at strengthening exchange of best practices and to promote regional cooperation initiatives regarding human rights and migration. One of these initiatives refers to this survey form on public policies on human rights and migration among Mercociudades members, as well as the next phases of the “The diversity in you” initiative.