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Local voices for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy

After the celebration of its 7th edition in September 2017, the World Human Rights Cities Forum (WHRCF) has proved to be the main meeting point for human rights cities at the global level. Here are some its last year's edition outcomes.

Over the last years, the city of Gwangju (also a co-Chair of the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights) has brought together hundreds of local governments and civil society representatives to exchange knowledge, experience and learning on how to bring, through local action, human rights back in the daily life of urban populations. The WHRCF community has also turned into a strong advocacy platform; rallying an alliance of local governments and communities committed to advance the human rights agenda at the global stage.

The Human Rights Cities Movement is on the rise

Held under the theme “Do we live in Peace: Human Rights Cities, Democracy and Practice”, its 2017 edition was focused on boosting the agenda of human rights cities (#Cities4Rights) as well as to tackle its relation with local democracy and peace. In this regard, up to 700 participants attended its various sessions and debates around meaningful experiences, such as Korea’s candlelight movement or Madrid’s initiative on direct democracy “Decide Madrid”.

As a partner organization of the Forum, member cities of our Committee have mobilized and sent their representatives to the Forum: the Mayor of Bethlehem, Mr. Anton Salman; the Deputy Mayor of Madrid, Mr. Mauricio Valiente; the Deputy Mayors of Grenoble, Mr. Emmanuel Carroz and Mr. Bernard Macret; as well as Ms. Stefany Campins, in representation of Mexico City’s Social Development Secretary, Mr. José Ramón Amieva. Representatives of partner organizations also took part in the Forum: the Global Platform for the Right to the City, Observatori DESC, Kota Kita Foundation and the US Human Rights Cities Alliance.

Explore the presentation "Local voices for Human Rights"

The following documents gather several of the main outcomes of the Forum up to this date:

  • A presentation that synthesises ideas and events that took place during the Forum through the voices of some of its participants. The Committee already noted last September how the “Human Rights Cities Movement is on the rise”.
  • The final Declaration of the Forum, calling for committed actions to link local governance with human rights and democracy as a way to build a more peaceful world. This declaration is available in French, Spanish and English.
  • The minutes of Gwangju's Expert Group meeting, aimed at discussing UN guiding principles on local governments and human rights under the light of local practices and experiences (as a follow up of the work of the UN Human Rights system on the subject where the Committee actively collaborated).

All the interventions to the Forum were gathered and published in its official website.

In perspective, it should be highlighted how the network of cities for Human Rights and the Right to the City is increasingly gaining ground, becoming a platform for defending democratic cities and territories at the service of the common good. Once more, the city of Gwangju has provided a meaningful space to that end, bringing together local action and commitments from all around Asia as well as on a global level.