A Human Rights City is a place where local government, local parliament, civil society, private sector and other stakeholders ensure the application of international human rights standards.

 Why do we need human rights cities?

It is in the cities and local communities that life happens. Be it in an urban or rural area, it is at the local level where social, political and economic issues come into being, where policies are translated into concrete actions, and where rights are vindicated.

Today’s world is witnessing an ever growing emphasis on the relevance of cities accompanied by the understanding that they are in a strategic position to address both local and global issues. Inclusion, sustainability, gender equality, environment, accessibility, good governance, delivery of public services, human rights – the local level is the meeting point for all these issues. Human rights cities harness the strategic position of the local level to address such issues. It is the means to design better policies and empower individuals by guaranteeing that international human rights standards are translated to the local level.

A human rights city places the individual in the center, so that people are empowered to understand and claim their rights, as well as participate in decisions that affect them. Aware of the relevance of such approach, cities from all around the world have already begun taking steps into becoming human rights cities. Examples are York, in the United Kingdom, Eugene, in the United States, Jakarta, in Indonesia, Barcelona, in Spain, Rosario, in Argentina, Gwangju, in South Korea, and Lund, in Sweden.

Our work

RWI is committed to advancing the human rights city project both in Sweden and worldwide. We combine research with practice to provide academic expertise to the needs and priorities of practitioners, as well as to inform our research based on lessons learned. Such knowledge exchanges have already resulted in a publication on the Swedish and international perspectives on human rights cities and regions, as well as a platform that lays out criteria for how to develop and perform as a human rights city in Sweden, which we developed together with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.


For more information about the project, please contact: