The Policy Brief Becoming a Human Rights City has been published in the Working Paper Series of the Institute for Human Rights in January 2023.
A translation into Finnish of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency publication How to make human rights part of everyone’s daily life – a guide for local authorities, which has been developed to assist cities in the process of becoming a human rights city will be provided to FRA by the Human Rights Cities project in the beginning of 2023. A translation into Swedish is underway in Sweden.
The Closing Seminar of the Human Rights Cities project was held on 12 December 2022. In her opening remarks, Geraldine Guille, specialist in policy analysis and stakeholder cooperation, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) pointed out some benefits of becoming a Human Rights City. Firstly, it entails a holistic approach to the realisation of human rights in a city. Secondly, human rights become a topic for the city administration, thus facilitating their incorporation into the city culture. Thirdly, becoming a Human Rights City provides a concrete way to take a stand for human rights. Ms Guille observed that the City of Turku already is very progressive, for example, with regard to its work on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and in having participatory processes as part of its general practice. Sampo Ruoppila, Head of Research, City of Turku, noted that Turku actively works on promoting equality and prevention of social exclusion in many different manners and raised the question whether the human rights city concept could offer a strategic framework to coordinate and structure this work. The project team then presented its policy paper, including recommendations for the city of Turku on the various aspects that it might want to take into account if it considers becoming a human rights city. Björn Grönholm, Director for Strategic Projects, City of Turku, welcomed the research and noted that it was in line with the spirit of the current city of Turku Mayor’s Programme for the development of city services. He envisaged that the human rights based approach could be introduced into city development through ongoing increased use of horizontal leadership. In the ensuing panel conversation, stakeholders welcomed the idea of an increased bottom-up approach and called for a more visible and centralised source of information on human rights issues, including the rights of inhabitants in relation to local issues. The seminar was closed with the note by Björn Grönholm that Turku will in the near future consider possible next steps.
The Policy Brief Becoming a Human Rights City has been published and is available here: Policy paper FINAL. A translation into Finnish will be available shortly.
The Human Rights Cities project in co-operation with the Turku City library organised on 28 September 2022 a discussion forum: Equal access to the library services in Turku and digitalisation: A Human Rights Based Approach. At the forum, the project team published the case study ‘Yhtäläinen pääsy Turun kirjastopalveluihin ja digitalisaatio’ in which the realisation in Turku of equal access to the library services in a digital environment was analysed.
The project team submitted comments (Comments by the Institute for Human Rights at Abo Akademi University 2022) in response to the OHCHR Call for Input to Report on Local Government and Human Rights on 20 April 2022. The resulting OHCR report published in July 2022 reflected some of these comments.
Kristiina Vainio presented the research project at a webinar organised by the city of Espoo on 25 March 2022.
The project team issued a statement on a draft government proposal concerning oversight of social and health care services. The team stressed the need to ensure that an independent and effective oversight system is put in place also at the local level. 24 March 2022. Lausunto_Luonnos hallituksen esitykseksi SOTE-valvonnasta_ÅA_IMR_24.3.2022
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio participated in a meeting organised by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency on the Agency’s cooperation related to the EU Framework on Human Rights Cities on 28 February 2022.
Kristiina Vainio spoke about human rights based approaches and presented the research project at a webinar on human rights cities organised by the city of Helsinki on 10 December 2021.
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio participated in a meeting on the EU Framework on Human Rights Cities, organised by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency on 12 November 2021.
The project team met with the project steering group on 28 October 2021.
The project team presented the project on a research seminar organised by the Institute for Human Rights at the Åbo Akademi University on 18 October 2021.
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio had a meeting with representatives of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law on 14 October 2021.
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio participated in the Fundamental Rights Forum organised by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) on 11-12 October 2021.
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio held a meeting with Geraldine Gill from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency on cooperation in the framework of the research project on 27 September 2021.
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio participated in a webinar titled Safe Cities, organised by the Finnish League for Human Rights on 20 September 2021.
Lisa Grans and Kristiina Vainio participated in a preparatory meeting of the Launch of the EU Framework for Human Rights Cities on 15 September 2021.
The project team published the project website on 3 September 2021.