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Towards the 10th edition of the World Human Rights Cities Forum (WHRCF) of Gwangju

The 2020 edition of the World Human Rights Cities Forum (WHRCF) has been postponed to October 7-10 2020 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Given the importance of May 18, 2020, which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gwangju’s Democratic Uprising, the WHRCF’s host city and its partners wished to hold some symbolic initiatives throughout the day in order to recall the importance of locally defending and promoting human rights. In this regard, the CSIPDHR has launched, alongside its co-presidency of Gwangju, a call for mayors and local authorities within the network to share short video messages (of about 2 minutes) in support and to express solidarity for the celebration of 18 May, in connection with their own local experiences concerning human rights, historical memory or the struggle for democracy. In case you are interested in participating in this initiative, the CSIPDHR Secretariat will provide you with more information upon request.


Over the last 10 years, the Metropolitan City of Gwangju (South Korea) has co-organized the World Human Rights Cities Forum (WHRCF) alongside the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights (UCLG CSIPDHR). Each year, this Forum brings together thousands of relevant participants engaged in the protection and implementation of human rights at the local level. This Forum is based on the historical events lived in the same city on 1980, known as Gwangju Uprising, and which played a pivotal role in the democratization process of South Korea during the eighties.

At present, the WHRCF is the main meeting point for local authorities to discuss human rights issues at a global scale. As such, it provides a meaningful platform to expand local governments’ role in the guarantee of citizens’ fundamental rights. Through various thematic discussions, practice exchange sessions and live interventions by local government representatives, the Forum contributes to highlight the difficulties and challenges encountered throughout the world on human rights issues.

[ Know more about the historical significance of the 18 May ]

On 2020, Gwangju will host a special edition of the Forum in order to celebrate both the 10th anniversary of the Forum (as it has been co-organized yearly during all this time) as well as the 40th anniversary of Gwangju’s Uprising. It will take place from 17 to 20 May 2020 under the title “The Future of Human Rights Cities: Local Memories and Global Sharing”. Due to the historical significance of such remembrance event, the Forum will also welcome the presence of the President of South Korea, Mon Jae-in.

WHRCF 2020: The UCLG CSIPDHR Contribution

In order to further consolidate the global movement of human rights cities, the UCLG CSIPDHR will organize a high-level dialogue in parallel to the Forum’s plenary session with a focus on the issue of human rights at the local level. A working meeting will also be organized between local government representatives to identify partnership opportunities on these issues with multilateral organizations.

Finally, the UCLG CSIPDHR will also coordinate a space of co-creation and participatory discussion along the lines of the Town Hall methodology developed throughout the last UCLG World Congress. It will bring together representatives of local government, academia and local and international civil society.

WHRCF 2020: Thematic focus

The Forum will address some of the most urgent human rights challenges faced by local authorities today; this is, tackling the rise of discrimination and inequality, protecting and expanding local democracy, fostering the ecological transition... It will place particular emphasis on historical memory and peace culture, in line with the 40th anniversary of the Gwangju Uprising. More broadly, it will offer an opportunity to define the future priorities of the global movement of local governments for human rights, following on the last dialogue held between local governments and the UN Human Rights system – and, more particularly, with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – last June 2019 in Geneva.

Do not hesitate to reach the Committee’s Secretariat ( for more information on how to participate in the local government delegation to the Forum.