You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

York to become Human Rights City

Press Association logoPress Association 24/04/2017 Dave Higgens

York is declaring itself the UK's first Human Rights City.

When the Lord Mayor makes the declaration later in April, the city will join more than 30 Human Rights Cities around the world, including Graz and Vienna in Austria, Seattle in the US and Edmonton in Canada.

The status means that the city makes an explicit declaration that it will refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its everyday activities.

No cities in Australia are on the list.

York is a walled city in northeast England that was founded by the Romans. Visitors love York Minster, its 13th-century Gothic cathedral and the Monk Bar gate, which houses an exhibition tracing the life of of 15th-century Plantagenet King Richard III.

As part of the move, a number of organisations in the public and voluntary sector, including City of York Council and North Yorkshire Police, have pledged to put human rights at the heart of policies and plans for the future.

The event has been organised by the York Human Rights City Network (YHRCN), a partnership between the University of York's Centre for Applied Human Rights and a number of other organisations in the city.

It was launched in 2011 with the aim of declaring York a Human Rights City this year. It has since expanded to include the council and police.

Stephen Pittam, from YHRCN, said: "York has the ambition to use human rights in decision-making, promote awareness and debate about human rights and ensure all residents' rights are respected."

"Each existing human rights city has built on its own particular history when seeking to give local content to the label. In both the past and present, York has a strong record of activity in the field of social justice.

"We want to act as a catalyst for York people, organisations and business to champion a vibrant, diverse, fair and safe city."

The campaign to establish York as the UK's first Human Rights City was initiated by Professor Paul Gready, who is Director of the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York.

Prof Gready said: "We live in uncertain and challenging times. International and national frameworks protecting human rights are under threat.

"Sadly, the UK is no exception to this trend. Those of us who are committed to human rights need to think creatively and act decisively."

The declaration will be made by the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Dave Taylor, at the Merchant Taylors' Hall, in York, on April 24.

He will be joined by dignitaries including York Central MP Rachael Maskell and Councillor Thomas Rajakovics, of Graz, in Austria.

The Lord Mayor said: "Declaring York as the first Human Rights City in the UK means the people of York have pledged that treating everyone equally, with fairness, dignity and respect is important to them and that they want the city to continue to work towards this objective.

"I am delighted to be part of this event celebrating the commitment that the city has to the fundamental freedoms and rights of its residents."

More From Press Association

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon