In response to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Call for inputs on Human Rights Council resolution 51/12, the Global Cities Hub (GCH) has made a submission on ways to enhance the engagement of local and regional governments (LRGs) in the UN human rights system.
Recalling that States bear the primary responsibility for the protection and promotion of human rights, the GCH emphasized that LRGs have a complementary role to play. Through their public services and daily decisions, LRGs significantly contribute to the fulfilment of human rights. However, they rarely describe their work in terms of respecting, protecting, fulfilling or promoting human rights, even if they often implicitly draw on human rights principles like equity, social justice and transparency. In fact, LRGs would have much to gain from anchoring their work in international human rights law and engaging more actively with the UN human rights system.
There exists several procedures and practices for engaging LRGs in the UN human rights system. All these should be further enhanced and resorted to in a more systematic manner. In its submission, the GCH specifically refers to the Universal Periodic Review, the Human Rights Council, Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies, and National mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up.
In addition, the GCH suggests two new and innovative ways to engage LRGs in the UN human rights system. First, establish a new status for LRGs to enable them to engage in a sustainable manner with the UN system and to speak in their own capacity. Second, establish a new Forum on local government and human rights, similarly to other Forums of the Human Rights Council. Such a Forum could provide a great opportunity to engage mayors and create direct channels of communication between the local level and the UN body.
The GCH looks forward to seeing its proposals reflected in the OHCHR report summarizing all inputs and stands ready to fully support States and other stakeholders willing to champion these ideas in the Human Rights Council.
Read our input to the Human Rights Council resolution 51/12 on local governments and human rights:
OHCHR Photo/Pierre Albouy