Brussels Urban Summit 2023 – HRCN Press Statement

Human Rights Cities Network presents its new tool to integrate people’s rights at the
heart of public policies: the Standardized Monitoring System (SMS)


Brussels, 14 June 2023 (16:00 to 17:30)
SQUARE Brussels Convention Centre – Room 213-215

Putting human rights on the agenda of the Brussels Urban Summit (BUS) 2023, the Human Rights Cities Network calls local authorities and civil society to jointly implement the brand new Standardized Monitoring System (SMS). This unique tool integrates people and their rights at the centre of public policies and practices. The involvement of communities in local decision-making processes strengthen participatory democracy. The resulting dialogue and co-creation provide a greater accountability and a better enforcement of human rights commitment, from the local to the global level. To this end, human rights cities aim to contribute to safeguard democracy.

To illustrate “How to enhance human rights in your city”, Frédérique Hanotier, Director and Founder of the Human Rights Cities Network (HRCN) and Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), elevate voices of different actors demonstrating how cities can save democracy. Martha Suprun, advisor to the Mayor of the city of Lviv in Ukraine, brings concrete examples of what municipalities are doing to support basic human rights under the Cities 4 Cities / United 4 Ukraine project.

Peer to peer support of European municipalities is essential to ensure the recovery of Ukraine in a participative and people-centred approach” said Dr. Bernd Voehringer, Mayor of the city of  Sindelfingen in Germany. As the President of the Local Chamber of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, he underlines the role of local authorities in promoting human rights at the local level. In another instance, the Chair of York Human Rights City Network in United Kingdom– Stephan Pittam, brings the civil society perspective, and through the 2022 Indicator Report, shows how citizens’ engagement in building and monitoring specific indicators is essential in assessing human rights in the city of York: “There is value in measuring progress against the same human rights and indicators over time” he said.

Join the pilot project and become an actor on the human rights cities’ map. By doing so, each of us can contribute to the development of wider human rights cities, movement in Europe and beyond.“Together, cities and civil society can make human rights a reality for the people and safeguard democracy in Europe” concludes Frédérique Hanotier.

Background information:

This event is part of the Brussels Urban Summit (BUS) 2023, an initiative of Brussels Capital
Region, Eurocities, Metropolis and the OECD Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth
Initiative. The BUS 2023 brings together three international city conferences: the 14th Metropolis World Congress, the Eurocities Annual Conference and the 6th OECD Champion Mayors Summit for Inclusive Growth Initiative. It gathers over 300 cities worldwide and more than 1,000 politicians, experts and representatives of civil society to exchange ideas and set the priorities for sustainable, affordable, and liveable cities. `The Human Rights Cities Network (HRCN) urges local authorities to adopt a human-based approach in their public policies, and to engage with civil society to monitor its impact on people’s life. The process enhances urban equality, diversity and democratic participation.

This unique trailblazing tool monitors human rights in public services delivery and integrates people’s rights at the centre of public policies. With this, city actors can regularly evaluate their achievements and analyse the impact of their work in making human rights a reality for the people. The bottom-up approach responds to the needs of both the municipalities and the people. The standardization of the monitoring and its utilization by a growing number of cities in Europe fosters exchanges of good practices among cities, but also reinforces the network. By doing so, the HRCN contributes to the development of human rights cities.

The Network also operate at a localised level in European cities. It promotes “model human rights cities” and encourages others to become one. The aim is to promote regional networks by connecting local human rights city initiatives with each other . The vision is to make such initiatives a reality for everyone, and to foster inclusive democracy and social justice. Its mission is to increase the number of human rights cities in Europe.

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