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Pulse - Migrations

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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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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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