Human Rights Cities in the United States

Human Rights Cities
Civil Action Movement
Human Rights
What are human rights
Promote dignity, fairness, and equality for all
people enable individuals to meet their basic
Civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights
No distinction based on class, race, sex, religion,
nationality, age, disability, sexual orientation, or
other status.
The United Nations Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
places the obligation on
governments to respect, protect
and fulfill rights
Human rights in the United states
Declaration of Independence – All men are created equal and endowed
with unalienable rights
Human rights framework goes a step further than documents like the
U.S. Constitution to ensure economic and social rights (basic rights)
The United States played an important role in developing the human
rights framework and documents like the UDHR.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a key contributor to the texts of the
UDHR Drafting treaties like the Convention on the Elimination of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights
of the Child (CRC)
Human Rights Cities
• Participatory governance help to build a sense of ownership over
process policy and outcomes and ensures that proper
representation to reduce likelihood of discriminatory policies.
• Local governments are on the frontline of human rights, not the
large centralized governments
• Participatory process allows government officials and residents to
develop strategies to improve city.
• Unlike large federal government policies, each city is able to tailor
policies and procedures to their own unique community as they
see fit.
Rosario, Argentina
• Rosario, Human Rights City: with the aim of internalizing the human
rights culture
• Prevention and resolution of conflicts characteristic of human
coexistence. It includes different activities for different sectors,
ages, interests:
• * Human rights learning for teachers, security forces, health agents,
magistrates, professionals, children, artists, social communicators
and district organizations.
• * Promotion of gender equity.
• * Care of the environment.
• Latin American and Caribbean Program for Human Rights
Education: Training of human rights educators, chosen among
people with capacity to lead processes of cultural changes in their
own communities and the development of additional human rights
Utrecht, Netherlands
• Poverty Reduction – U Pass
– Poverty reduction aimed at improving financial
position and increasing societal participation of
poorer residents in social events.
– Sport, culture, course, and recreation
– Access to collective health insurance. Made affordable
and accessible
– Emphasis on children
• Sporting events are free for children through combined
financial help from the municipality and sport associations
Walewale, Ghana
• Community Human Rights Education within communities, mobilization of
stakeholders including Youth groups, Women groups, Chiefs and local
government authority. Extensive consultation and consensus building
were also undertaken as part of the process.
• Successful public human rights education and human rights knowledge
sharing: Collaborative development planning, implementation and
monitoring with local and national level governmental bodies; Human
Right institution building by strengthening the capacity of other non
governmental and community based organizations working in the field of
Human Rights.
• Advocacy for improvement in the human rights content of laws passed at
the local and national levels; Advocacy for the passage of new laws for the
promotion and protection of human rights; Alternative dispute resolution
and legal counselling and representation relating to human rights
violations; Research for the advancement of human rights in the HRCs and
at the national level.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
• "Neighbors for the Environment”
• Fifteen organizations participated in it, developing together projects
to achieve goals. All the projects were related to the use of water;
cleaning of drainages and weeds; forest workers; kitchen gardens,
recycling trash; recovering abandoned and uncultivated spaces, etc.
• They discussed the various problems in their neighbourhood and
came up with solutions to solve them. And most importantly, they
organized alliances between them, fixed priorities regarding their
needs and what they should claim from the government and what
they could do by themselves. They are now working to prepare an
integrated project.
Korogocho, Kenya
• Korogocho Community Initiatives
Slum Upgrading Program: joint initiative of the
Government of Kenya with funding support through a
debt for development swap entered into by the
Government of Italy and the Government of Kenya.
Coordinated support to the community to provide the
residents of Korogocho with security of tenure through an
appropriate land tenure system and to prepare and
implement improvements of the physical, economic and
social living conditions of the Korogocho communities.
Washington, D.C.
• The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR)
• Discrimination Complaint
Complaints filed with OHR may go through a 6 step process involving:
•Step 1 - Intake (The filing of the complaint)
•Step 2 - Mandatory mediation
•Step 3 - Investigation
•Step 4 - Legal Review and Analysis
•Step 5 - Office Determination and Conclusion
Eugene, Oregon
• 2011 - Eugene City Council unanimously voted to
restructure the Human Rights Commission to support
and promote the full range of human rights within the
• Homelessness
– Viewed through the framework of human rights. Housing
as a basic human right.
– 2011 Mayor and City Council created Opportunity Eugene
Community Task Force on Homelessness
– Eugene city government staff have incorporated reference
to the full range of civil, political, social, economic and
cultural human rights into the Social Equity section of their
Triple-Bottom-Line Tool
Columbus, IN
• “It is the public policy of the City to provide all persons an equal
opportunity for and in education, employment, public accommodations
and acquisition through purchase or rental of real property including but
not limited to housing….
• MONITORING COMPLIANCE : The Commission is a party to written
conciliation agreements, which resolve complaints of alleged
discrimination filed with the agency. A Commission staff person is assigned
to monitor the terms and conditions of these agreements, as well as
Commission orders.
• MEDIATION PROGRAM : The Commission offers a voluntary procedure in
which the parties to discrimination complaints filed with Commission may
attempt to mediate and resolve their controversies short of having
Commission investigate and process the complaint
Chapel Hill & Carrboro, NC
The Human Rights Center of Carrboro and Chapel Hill spearheaded efforts to
pass the resolution about Human Rights. The process for developing the
resolution was unique because the Board of Alderman ultimately agreed to
support it with adjustments to the text of the UDHR that modernize and
modify its language to reflect Carrboro’s priorities as articulated by local
The local resolution reflects revisions, including the removal of masculine
pronouns, the addition of “ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity or
gender expression” as bases on which discrimination is prohibited, and the
recognition of a right to marry regardless of gender.
Reflecting input from local supporters, the resolution allows for an advisory
body to monitor and report to the Board on human rights conditions in the
town. The neighboring town of Chapel Hill also adopted the modified version
of the UDHR as guiding principles.
• Pittsburgh is the 5th city in the United States to
declare themselves as Human Rights City
• Leading the way for Human Rights Cities in the

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