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"Local and regional authorities are indispensable for achieving this common ideal of a Europe of human rights", says Harald Bergmann on the occasion of Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day 10 December 2020
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"Every year we celebrate Human Rights Day on 10 December, an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of protecting the inherent rights of Europe's 835 million people," said Harald Bergmann (Netherlands, ILDG), the Congress' thematic spokesperson on human rights.

"This year we also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights, which was an opportunity for member States to renew their commitment to the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention. This anniversary marked the need to put these rights at the heart of the actions carried out in the framework of multi-level governance, particularly in the fight against the health crisis, ensuring the protection of vulnerable populations and guaranteeing social rights. To ensure the implementation of human rights as close as possible to the citizens, especially in times of crisis, local and regional authorities are essential to achieve this common ideal of a Europe of human rights", stressed the spokesperson. "Mainstreaming human rights at the levels closest to the citizens helps to strengthen social cohesion and citizens' confidence in their institutions", he added.

As part of its action plan for the promotion of human rights, the Congress actively seeks to foster human rights' territorial dimension through its statutory work - particularly when monitoring the European Charter of Local Self-Government - and its co-operation and thematic activities. Especially when considering these are in line with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations' Agenda 2030, and in particular SDG 16, which aims at ensuring respect for human rights and access to justice for all.

The Congress also adopted the 2nd volume of the Human Rights Manuals for Local and Regional Elected Officials series devoted to social rights. Issues addressed include health, education, work, housing and security as well as social inclusion and integration in close connection with non-discriminatory principles and with a focus on the Covid-19's impact. The 1st volume, published in 2018, is devoted to the right to non-discrimination of refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and IDPs, Roma and Travellers and LGBTI people.

"The successful implementation of human rights helps contribute to fairer and more resilient societies. We call on all actors at local and national levels to build on these successful experiences in order to make human rights a reality in our cities and regions," concluded the thematic spokesperson.

 

 

This year's International Human Rights Day coincides with the 72nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a document that recognised a set of fundamental rights for every human being, regardless of skin colour, sex, religion, or national or social origin. This initiative represented an important step forward in the protection of human rights.


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