CAREinCities – Civic Action for Rights and Equality in Cities

The Civic Action for Rights and Equality in Cities (CAREinCities) project is realised by the Human Rights Cities Network (HRCN) with the support of ECF – European Civic Forum and funded by the European Union’s CERV programme.

Aim of the project

The shrinking of civic space in Europe is increasing in frequency and intensity. The rise of antidemocratic and discriminatory policies and practices, and the erosion of human rights, is a general trend which puts democracy at stake. 

In view of the EU 2024 post-electoral processes, it is essential to set the foundation of a new European electoral cycle based on civic engagement and democracy. Local authorities are in the best position to initiate, together with CSOs and academia, a new inclusive and participatory approach to enhance democratic values, protect human rights and reinforce civic participation at the local level. 

Based on these premises, the project envisages a new methodology, based on dialogue and solidarity, to fill the gaps some communities are facing to access their rights. CSOs, academia and municipalities will cooperate to identify the main obstacles and to collectively find solutions to effective monitoring of the respect of human rights at the service delivery level in their city.

The main aim of the CAREinCities project is to improve cooperation within and among two European cities to enhance human rights monitoring in the fields of social services and social inclusion. 

In the long term, it aims at strengthening cities’ democracy by promoting civic participation in the monitoring of human rights progress in public policies and services delivery in EU cities.

Therefore, the project contributes to respond to three main needs:

  1. reinforce the watchdog role of CSOs and academia in monitoring human rights in public policies and service delivery in cities;
  2. coconstruct a pragmatic tool based on mutual learning between civil society and local authorities to enhance cities’ democracy with a bottom-up approach;
  3. regularly assess gaps and progress against European and international standards to support the development of human rights cities in Europe and beyond.

A few facts

Human rights cities are cities “where the local government, local grassroots organisations and city residents commit through a declaration and work together to uphold international human rights standards and norms” (FRA, 2022).

However, at present there is neither formal accreditation nor international or regional minimum standards framing their development. 

Both municipal representatives and citizens are seldom aware of their roles and responsibilities in translating international standards, including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, into concrete practices on the ground. While the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)’s Framework for locally-based Human Rights Action is a landmark in Europe, a specific tool to monitor the achievements of both existing and still-in-the-making human rights cities is yet to be developed.

The CAREinCities project will set the basis to co-develop, together with CSOs, academic institutions and local authorities, human rights monitoring tools to support the development of human rights cities in Europe. 

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