5th World Human Rights Cities Forum in Gwangju (South Korea)

From 15 to 18 May 2015, the Gwangju International Center and Gwangju Metropolitan City organized the 5th World Human Rights Cities Forum (WHRCF) with the support of the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights, and the Korea Human Rights Foundation.

Since 2011, the WHRCF has gathered key actors and stakeholders engaged in building human rights cities. This 5th edition of the WHRCF aimed to pursue the exchanges of experiences between cities committed to human rights around the world, and to strengthen the global alliance of cities for human rights on the basis of the Gwangju Guiding Principles for a Human Rights City (2011). To this end, the 2015 edition developed the previous year’s theme  “Towards a Global Alliance of Human Rights Cities for All” – to highlight the importance of expanding the global human rights cities movement and to promote solidarity and mutual cooperation.

More than 500 participants attended, mainly representatives of human rights cities, including members of the UCLG CISDP and UCLG’s Section for Asia-Pacific – ASPAC, human rights NGOs, community-based organizations, local parliamentarians and academics, as well as UN human rights experts.

The meeting included several types of sessions and activities. Two special sessions took place on “Human Rights Cities Policy”. An experts’ workshop on “Local Government and Human Rights” will be held by UN Human Rights experts, and the third International Conference on “State Violence and Trauma” were also organized by Gwangju Trauma Center. A Session on Asia was also held, with the theme of “Human rights in Asia and the vision of a human rights city”. Furthermore, eight thematic workshops were organized by local civil society organizations. Participants were given opportunities to get involved in special events such as a citizens’ rally and a human rights culture tour. Finally, a Closing Ceremony took place, including the adoption of a declaration of the concluding statements of the Forum.

The 5th WHRCF was a strategic space to promote concrete tools such as the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City and the Gwangju Guiding Principles for a Human Rights City, and progress on their implementation.

The Forum recalled that human rights require the participation of citizens in the movement to re‑appropriate the stakes linked to the city, as well as their participation in developing solutions.


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