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Preamble

Addressed to the men and women of the city

Why, at the beginning of the 21st century, is there a need for a European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City?

The Declaration of Human Rights (1948) is universal. Has it not been adequately reinforced and finalized by countless agreements, which to a varying degree concern the protection of specific rights?

The European Convention on Human Rights (1950) offers a legal guarantee. Despite this, there are many rights not yet realized and citizens find it difficult to find their way through the labyrinth of legal and administrative red tape.

How do we better guarantee these rights? How can we act more effectively? How do we create the right conditions for the personal wellbeing of everyone?

This is where the role of the city comes in.

Today, both for those inhabitants of rural areas who make the long march to the city, but above all for those foreigners who arrive seeking freedom and new experiences and looking for employment, to live here temporarily or permanently, it is clear that the city is now where the future of mankind lies.

The city today is home to all kinds of assemblies and, above all, a space for personal development. At the same time, it is the locus for contradictions, conflict and danger: The urban space with its anonymity on the one hand is a source of all types of discrimination rooted in unemployment, poverty, and disdain for cultural differences, while simultaneously municipal and social practices are appearing, which more and more build on the principle of solidarity.

City life today also demands that certain rights be more clearly defined. This is necessary, for it is here in the city we live, seek work and move around. This also obliges us to acknowledge new issues, such as respect for the environment, the guarantee of healthy food, the matter of tranquility and the opportunity for social exchange and leisure etc.

Finally, in the face of the crisis facing elected democracy in the national states today and in view of the concern over European bureaucracy, the city emerges as a possible new political and social space.

Here exciting possibilities for an accessible democracy are emerging. All city dwellers will be able to participate in civic life and thus in citizenship. If all of the rights laid down below are for everyone, then each citizen must secure those rights for all others in freedom and solidarity.

The commitment which we undertake concerns all people of today. It does not claim to be exhaustive and the breadth of its application depends on how far the citizens make it their own. It is merely an outline response to the aspirations of those citizens, aspirations which arose in the cities. This Charter contains a set of points which will enable all citizens to access their rights, and local government, at the subsidiary level, to facilitate their delivery and to recognize and put an end to any violations of those rights.

This support should facilitate problem solving and clarification of any apparent contradictions integral to life in the city.

The intention: to facilitate integration into public life in the long term

The principle: equality

The objective: to raise the political awareness of all inhabitants