On 18 April, on the occasion of the UCLG Executive Bureau held in Madrid, the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights and the City Council of Madrid organized a Meeting of Cities for Human Rights and the Right to the City. The minutes of this event, which was attended by local governments and Madrilenian civil society human rights organizations, are now available online.
Cities for Human Rights and the Right to the City
In front of an audience of almost 100 people, representatives of local governments (from Madrid, Plaine Commune, the Departmental Council of Seine-Saint-Denis, Gwangju, Barcelona, Mexico City, Montevideo, Nanterre, Vallromanes, Toronto, Sao Leopoldo, and Lausanne, among others) presented their priorities and strategies for defending and guaranteeing human rights.
On this occasion, the City of Madrid presented its Strategic Plan for Human Rights, recently approved by its City Council.
The interventions and debates clearly highlighted the common challenges for the realization of human rights at the local level: xenophobic and inward-looking trends observed all over the world, austerity policies that seriously limit the capacity of local governments to implement human rights, as well as the restriction of civil liberties.
In front of all these threats, participants shared their practices to ensure universal access to rights, especially for migrants, such as the sanctuary city of Toronto, Barcelona’s action plan against islamophobia or the initiatives on the social inclusion of young people and global citizenship carried out by the Seine-Saint-Denis department.
Participants to the meeting also insisted on the link between historical memory processes and rights culture. In this regard, the city of Gwangju presented its work on historical memory related to the 1980 democratic uprising, a practice shared by the associations of victims of the Francoist dictatorship attending the event.
Working as a network: A shared trip towards guaranteeing and defending Human Rights
Local government representatives also insisted on the importance of the networking efforts carried out by the Committee in order to strengthen messages and practices promoting and protecting human rights from the local to the global level. During the meeting, the Co-Presidents of the Committee also presented the Activity Report for 2016 and the 2017 Action Plan. Finally, Kim SOO A, representing the Metropolitan City of Gwangju, invited all participants to take part in the 7th World Forum of Cities for Human Rights.