Poverty, inequality, housing, discrimination, health and social care, and education affect hundreds of thousands of people across the UK.
The Human Rights Local project seeks to identify opportunities to make human rights locally relevant. The project shows that human rights are closely linked to everyday life, and we do this by establishing effective relationships with local and community groups, local authorities and other stakeholders. We aim to channel a positive vision of rights for the local community, one that is empowering, protective, enabling and problem-solving through research, partnerships, advice and support.
In 2020/21, Human Rights Local was funded by ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.
We are all members of communities where “alone the free and full development of (our) personality is possible”, as recognised in Article 29(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human Rights Local brings human rights closer to the ground, adapting international standards and principles to the local context. By identifying local priorities and needs, we support local communities to translate these concerns into rights-based demands for change, and create avenues for dialogue and participation.
Human Rights Local is forming strong connections with a number of local community groups based in Colchester, Jaywick and Clacton. Following on from the support both the Human Rights Centre (HRC) and the Human Rights Centre Clinic gave to the official visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, to Jaywick in November 2018, the HRC initiated and co-organised a follow-up local community event on 2 July 2019. These meetings have started to address the many ways in which the systemic human rights challenges identified in the Special Rapporteur’s report on UK poverty can begin to be effectively challenged with the support of the Human Rights Centre.
The Human Rights Centre also contributed to Colchester Pride in June 2019 to underline the human rights-based dimensions of the rights and entitlements of the LGBTQI community.
We are working alongside Just Fair, Amnesty International UK and ATD Fourth World to facilitate that people with lived and learned experience of poverty from all nations and regions in the UK meet and learn from each other, gain and develop research and advocacy skills, build networks, and improve our general understanding of social rights challenges and opportunities in our country.
Localising human rights means celebrating tall figures of our shared history, like John Ball, born in Colchester and executed for his leadership in the Peasants’ Revolt of the 14th century. With some of our partners, we are looking to honour John Ball’s memory and that of other men and women who throughout history fought for the rights of their peers in the UK and abroad.
This report identifies some of the common characteristics among Human Rights Cities in Europe, as well as the potential benefits of becoming one.
The report provides historical background on the development of the concept ‘human rights city’. Based on literature review and the case studies of seven self-declared human rights cities, the report identifies certain common characteristics. It also presents the case studies of nine cities in Europe, including three in England.
The first seven cases declared themselves human rights cities (Barcelona, Graz, Lund, Nuremberg, Utrecht, Vienna and York). The case studies provide a background on the city, presenting some of the structures and initiatives employed to implement a human rights framework.
The last two cities are from England (Brighton & Hove and Newcastle); while they have not yet declared themselves human rights cities, both of them have implemented interesting local initiatives in the domain of housing and homelessness that resonate with human rights principles.
Cluster LeadHuman Rights Centre, University of Essex
Lecturer in the School of Law, and the Deputy Director of the Human Rights Centre Clinic.
Diretor of the Human Rights Centre and Senior LecturerHuman Rights Centre, University of Essex
Senior Research OfficerHuman Rights Centre, University of Essex
Deputy Director, Human Rights Centre and LecturerHuman Rights Centre, University of Essex