Human Rights Council need to engage more with local governments

On 4 July, the Global Cities Hub took part in an event organized by Chile, Egypt, the Republic of Korea, Romania and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to share the conclusions and discuss the implementation of recommendations contained in the OHCHR report (A/HRC/56/32) submitted at this current session (56th) of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

The report looks at challenges and opportunities to both enhance capacity for local and regional governments (LRGs) to incorporate human rights into their work and strengthen engagement of LRGs with UN human rights mechanisms.

The report makes recommendations to several stakeholders:

  • National governments (incl. the provision of financial resources and technical capacities for LRGs to fulfil their human rights responsibilities;  the inclusion of LRGs in national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up on human rights (NMIRFs), as well as in the Universal Review Process, the Special Procedures visits and Treaty Body reviews)
  • LRGs (incl. the need to institutionalize human rights within the local/regional administration; to enhance their participation in the State’s international review processes; to develop indicators and collect data on the local/regional human rights situation)
  • the HRC (who could request OHCHR to provide an annual report on good practices and challenges faced by LRGs in the implementation of human rights and who should consider establishing a discussion mechanism to engage with LRGs).

The GCH had the opportunity to provide input to the report and it is pleased to see all its suggestions reflected in the report, in particular its call to create a new status for LRGs at the UN, so that they may be accredited and participate in UN meetings in their own capacity, and to establish a new HRC Forum on local government, to facilitate the exchange of views and practices between Mayors and States’ central administrations.

The GCH will remain engaged on this issue at the HRC, in particular as the next resolution on local government and human rights should be discussed at the HRC this fall.

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