Human Rights Cities Network

The Human Rights Cities Network is a not-for-profit organisation (association sans but lucratif). It is governed by a team of experts supported by an Advisory Board of senior human rights specialists, which sets its direction and oversees its work.

We invite European cities that are committed to respecting, protecting and promoting a culture of human rights to become ‘guest members’.

Today, the network counts seven guest member cities as inspiring models: Graz, Lund, Middelburg, Nuremberg, Utrecht, Vienna, and York. We work closely with three associated members: the Raoul Wallenberg Institute; University College Roosevelt and Utrecht University; and Global CAD and the US Human Rights Cities Alliance.



To make human rights a reality for everyone, and foster inclusive democracy and social justice.




To increase the number of human rights cities in Europe.




Human rights are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. They are part of the international social fabric that links people across borders. More than ever we need the uniting force of human rights and that means human rights cities.

The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the essential contribution that local authorities make to putting human rights at the centre of public policies. Effective local governance is key to achieving this objective.

Human rights cities also bring decision-making processes closer to people. The network is building on lessons we have learned to advance human rights at local level.

Local perspectives also need to be heard and represented internationally. Given their importance, local authorities should be represented at and participate in the work of international human rights mechanisms, UN Human Rights Council meetings and events led by International or European institutions.

Being a member of the International Committee of the World Human Right Cities Forum of Gwangju allows us to contribute to the wider movement of human rights cities.

The network’s four strategic objectives are to:


• Create synergies between international institutions, academics, and city actors.

• Spread knowledge about what human rights cities are, and exchange good practices, document local experiences, and describe new trends.

• Facilitate dialogue and collective reflection and help to develop methodologies, tools and guidelines.

• Build capacity by sharing expertise or providing tailor-made services.


Through our website, we share knowledge of human rights cities, link actors, and make good practices accessible. We promote ‘model cities’ and encourage other cities to join them.

“Becoming part of our network offers the opportunity to connect to other regional and global networks, and all together we become stronger.”




• Identify a clear monitoring mechanism for cities in Europe based on key elements of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) Framework of Commitments and other examples of human rights monitoring. It is essential to monitor the achievements and progress of human rights cities periodically in order to develop a global movement.

• Advance the global development of human rights cities by promoting:

An advisory role for academic institutions of the Global Campus of Human Rights network, to support local authorities of prospective human rights cities.

Specialized research on human rights cities and local human rights initiatives to develop guidelines and monitoring frameworks.

• Enhance advocacy work on human rights cities, contributing to the development of regional and global movements.

Human rights cities contribute significantly to the definition of global politics, bringing decision-making processes closer to the people. How to enhance local democracy in the future is a priority for those working to reinforce local and international human rights objectives. New concepts that bridge global and local are shaped especially in cities. Human rights gaps need to be bridged through local governance.

Director & Founder

+355 69 70 54 992 or +32 497 23 02 07