York Human Rights City

About York Human Rights City

York: the UK’s 1st Human Rights City

On 24 April 2017 the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Dave Taylor, signed a declaration making York the UK’s first Human Rights City. The declaration was the result of six years of work and campaigning, and had the support of all the main political parties within the Council. We were joined by Cllr Thomas Rakajovics from Graz, Austria. Graz was declared Europe’s first Human Rights City over 15 years ago.


Speakers included: Cllr Keith Aspden, on behalf of City of York Council; Rachael Maskell MP for York Central; Dr. Marilyn Crawshaw, York: Human Rights City steering group member; the Lord Mayor Cllr Dave Taylor; Cllr Thomas Rajakovics, Speaker of the Mayor’s Office of Graz; Professor Paul Gready, York: Human Rights City steering group member. Speeches available for download: Rachael Maskell, Marilyn Crawshaw, Cllr Dave Taylor


The actual wording of the declaration is as follows:

York Human Rights City Declaration

York, in becoming a Human Rights City, embraces a vision of a vibrant, diverse, fair and safe community built on the foundations of universal human rights. This vision is shared by citizens and institutions in our city, including the City Council, North Yorkshire Police, voluntary organisations and faith communities.

We are building on York’s own particular history of democratic innovation, philanthropy and an international outlook, all of which have shaped our commitment to social justice.

This declaration marks an ambition. A significant point in a journey, not a final destination. As the UK’s first Human Rights City we are committed to making our vision real, putting fundamental rights at the heart of our policies, hopes and dreams for the future.

A Human Rights City requires commitment from key participants, to a particular approach, backed by related actions. York: Human Rights City is a diverse network including the City of York Council, statutory agencies such as the police, voluntary sector groups and others. The approach seeks to use human rights to address local, everyday priorities. York residents have selected the five key priority areas of:

  • Education
  • Housing
  • Health
  • An adequate standard of living
  • Equality and non-discrimination.

York: Human Rights City’s aim is to integrate human rights into policy and practice in the city and to maintain our momentum. We’re very keen to learn about opportunities to speak about what this declaration could mean for York and about our work. Get in touch.

Since: 2018
Contact person's name: Liz Lockey
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