Fundamental Rights Forum 2021: a Framework for Locally-based Human Rights Action

The Forum

On the 11th and 12th of October, the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 was held both in Vienna and online. The Forum aimed to bring together key actors to present and exchange knowledge on the most pressing human rights issues, as well as to build a vision of hope for the future in the European context. With around 145 sessions on human rights related topics and 3000 people joining online and in person, it makes it the biggest human rights event in Europe this year.

Human rights cities were addressed as one of the burning topics of the Forum. In the plenary sessions, mayors and other stakeholders took the center stage to present their progress and to spark discussions on the future of human rights cities.

The new ‘Framework for Human Rights Cities in the EU’

During the Forum, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and representatives of European cities launched the new Framework for Human Rights Cities in the EU. As one of the contributing partners in the elaboration of this framework, this represents a significant step for the HRCN in the development of a human rights cities’ movement.

The recording of the launching session is available here.

The FRA framework is guided by three main elements: foundations, structures, and tools.

  • Foundations: set by defining what a human rights city is. It mentions the commitment of the city to comply with the full range of human and fundamental rights.
  • Structures: put forward to systematize the process of becoming a human rights city. The integration of different mechanisms and bodies are key elements in this process.
  • Framework: gives practical tools and resources on how to implement human rights in the city.

We are convinced this guiding framework will contribute in making human rights a reality in more European cities. We hope that more cities will make the formal commitment to join the growing network, and that they will make use of the tools the FRA framework offers to make the city an agent for the democratisation of human rights.

Finally, speakers remind us of the proximity of human rights work on the local level:

We have the wonderful opportunity to be close to our fellow citizens on a daily basis and we therefore have extremely important levers of action for social inclusion, with the participation of our fellow citizens.’

Phillippe Rio, mayor of Grigny, France. Voted Best Mayor of the World for social inclusion.

The HRCN remains committed to support new developments brought by the launching of this framework.

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