Working systematically to integrate human rights in local governance is ultimately about quality assurance and efficient human centered governance. It is a way to holistically secure that a city fulfills all its´ human rights obligations - that no rights areas, groups and communities or aspects are left out.
This is done using the core principles of a human rights-based approach throughout the city work:
- Non-Discrimination and Equality
A systematic approach entails clear commitment, mirrored in local policy frameworks applicable to all areas, but supported by strategies and action plans that provide further guidance and translated into meaningful tools and methods in specific work areas.
To secure the systematic approach the city also needs to develop systems to effectively involve residents. Residents need to both know their rights and the responsibilities of the city and ultimately also know the structures and mechanism to claim them if they are not respected.
The key is to translate human rights principles into understandable and user-driven tools that are applicable to everyday situations and tasks within the city. It is about a cross-departmental shouldering of city responsibilities, making the city more resilient to both staff rotation, political changes, and different forms of crises.
While not all human rights work at the local level is initiated with a systematic approach it can be developed from initiatives taken in a specific area or a process that works as a “door opener”.
RWI works with an open approach, to meet and support cities and other actors at the local level where they are, when they express an interest to enhance their human rights knowledge and develop a human rights-based approach to their work. Sometimes there is a readiness to develop a more holistic approach and other times it starts with a focus on a specific area, such as urban planning or budgeting.
A key principle in all our work on human rights in local governance is to work in close collaboration with the end users of all our products and services.
Below you will find examples from our work in Sweden and internationally.