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How to become a Human Rights City: a new Framework of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

At the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 held on 11 and October, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and representatives of several European cities presented a new Framework for Human Rights Cities in the EU.

The Framework describes what being a Human Rights City means and encourages more cities and local governments to make human rights an integral part of their work. “Becoming a human rights city means explicitly linking the work of the city to human and fundamental rights obligations. Doing so can have an invigorating effect, boosting confidence in local government and fostering public debates that ultimately help make fairer societies for all,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty.

The new Framework consists of three main elements: foundations, structures and tools. These elements formalise a city’s commitment to fulfil human rights, provide for mechanisms and bodies that integrate this commitment into the city’s work, and offer methods and resources that help implement a human-rights based approach in daily activities. The Framework also aims to strengthen the links between cities and to facilitate peer exchange and learning. The Framework itself was developed by a wide range of actors: a group of cities and regions, institutional partners at the European and international level, and experts from different fields.