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Pulse - Diversity and Nondiscrimination

A look at Vienna’s local human rights system

Vienna (1,8 million) | Human Rights Cities - Nondiscrimination

Five years after launching its process aimed at assuming a more active role in human rights policies as municipal administration, Vienna has become an inspiring example of “Human Rights City” in Europe and beyond, with consolidated human rights policies, institutions and laws.

« How can a city population feel completely secure? Defining security should take into account its broad nature in the city – if a child is able to come back home from school by himself, can grow up free from fear and have access to education and later on to labor market. In the end, this is also about having trust in local authorities: If I am unemployed, is there any system for supporting? If I can’t afford my flat temporary, can I receive help? Trust is the most important thing when living in a city »

Shams Asadi, Human Rights Commissioner of Vienna

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Seoul's quest to bring human rights in all parts of citizens' lives: Building a Human Rights City

Seoul (9,8 million) | Human Rights Cities - Nondiscrimination

Almost seven years after the creation of its Human Rights Department, Seoul has consolidated a pioneer municipal human rights system. At present, the city vows to tackle more firmly human rights issues such as discrimination, sexual harassment or forced evictions.

« Seoul has recently established a second human rights policy master plan focused on expanding human rights in every part of citizens' lives: creating human-friendly spaces, spreading human rights culture and raising awareness on the need to respect differences »

Seoul's Human Rights Department

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Goicoechea promotes human development through an approach based on citizen participation and human rights

Goicoechea (133,557) | Social Inclusion - Participatory Democracy

Initiatives led by Goicoechea's Human Development Department range from awareness-raising campaigns on non-discrimination, human rights trainings for local officials and participatory budgets; all set in a diverse and peripheral municipality of Costa Rica’s capital city.

« Among the specific initiatives carried out by the Department, the Tables for Dialogue stand out as a pioneer process on citizen participation. The tables aim at promoting people and community self-organization, and to co-create public policies through community workshops »

Goicoechea's Human Development Department

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Mechelen advocates for cities and the international community to embrace diversity and stand against racism

Mechelen (85,655) | Diversity and Nondiscrimination - Migration

Mechelen is a Flemish small city with a rich medieval past and a prosperous urban life. At present, the city brings to the world a positive message on how can cities promote diversity and advocate for migration, reinforcing social cohesion in a way that no one is left behind. 

« Populist say they defend western values and I try to explain they don’t; they are actually destroying them. I believe one of the most meaningful things our societies can offer to people is the idea “do your best work hard and you’ll get a better life”. Instead, xenophobia means to destroy social mobility and freedom. If generation after generation, socials groups can’t climb up the ladder, because of irrational negativity, our society isn’t fit anymore. If you really believe in our Western values, what you have to do is fight against discrimination and racism »

Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen

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Guaranteeing universal rights in Nador, a Moroccan city crossed by migratory routes

Nador (161,726) | Migrations – Diversity and Nondiscrimination

Nador has been a city marked by migration for all its recent history. At present, and as a way to improve migrants’ living conditions and their access to universal rights in their way to Europe, Nador has begun to tackle this phenomenon in a comprehensive way.

« With the closure of the Melilla border, the region has gone through a difficult period. Faced with the influx of migrants trying to get past the barbed wire that separates the two territories, we established a reception office for migrants, guiding them to education programmes, health services or public administration facilities. When the situation is particularly difficult, we also work with other local administrative authorities to resolve the situation in the best possible way »

Amina El Oualid, Vice-President of Nador Municipal Council

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Lisbon aims at developing a local human rights culture through training and awareness-raising

Lisbon (506.892) | Human Rights – Diversity and Nondiscrimination

SOMOS is a local programme of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights launched by Lisbon in 2015. Through different awareness-raising and capacity-building initiatives, it aims at developing a local culture of human rights and democratic citizenship.

[ This initiative is featured in the Inclusive Cities Observatory as an in-depth study case: You can have a look at it here ] 

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Grenoble promotes the notion of inclusive citizenship through participation and human rights education

Grenoble (162,780) | Participatory Democracy - Diversity

Due to its economic dynamism, Grenoble received a high number of migrants throughout the last century. At present, the city carries out several policies to help build and inclusive notion of citizenship: participation, human rights education and civil society empowerment.

« The Council of Foreign Residents relies on the notion of residence. Indeed, all residents who live in Grenoble after several years pay their taxes and often participate in the social life of their neighborhood. Our goal in promoting and supporting the Council is to demonstrate that foreign residents’ participation in municipal life can enrich local democracy and be a catalyst of social cohesion »

Bernard Macret, Deputy Mayor of Grenoble

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Barcelona promotes a municipal plan to combat Islamophobia and discrimination at the local level

Barcelona (1,6 million) | Human Rights – Diversity and Nondiscrimination

Barcelona launched in early 2017 a “Municipal Measure to combat Islamophobia”: An action plan developed in consultation with human rights defenders and Barcelona’s Muslim community with a view to both raise awareness, empower and guarantee reparations for victims.

« We understand discrimination, whatever the reason (gender, sexual orientation, race, social class ...), as one of the biggest threats to local social cohesion and inclusion. Indeed, the city of Barcelona does not live outside our time's rising international conjuncture, in which a part of our citizenship has become suspicious for the simple fact of professing a certain religion or having a specific cultural background »

Jaume Asens, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona