Embracing Human Rights Based Approach For A Just Rights Based and Resilient City

Human Rights Festival is a yearly event organized by non-Governmental Organisations and co-hosted by local Governments in Indonesia. It is a shared commitment towards mainstreaming human rights at the local level. This year of 2021 the festival is hosted by Semarang City. With the theme “MOVING FORWARD COLLECTIVELY  TOWARDS STRENGTHENING DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, AND RESILIENCE,” it is highlighting the diversity as the backbone of the nation for working towards a  common goal and it is also emphasising the development paradigm that pays more  attention to vulnerable and minority groups.

Resilience on the other hand is key amid the policy inconsistencies in government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 pandemic has caused devastating impacts in all sectors. National governments are now facing triple challenges, i.e., ensuring a successful recovery from the devastation of COVID-19, pushing forward their longer-term vision for development, and addressing the enormous threats posed by climate change[1] – and cities as well as local governments are at the centre of these challenges. These challenges have exposed and compounded risks and structural inequalities, and exclusion in cities where the most vulnerable are often left behind. Facing these challenges requires restructuring governance approaches that will underline an intersectional whole-of-community approach and put vulnerable groups at the heart of the measures towards restoring and repairing the earth and communities.

Human rights principles offer effective solutions to build stronger resilience to shocks by preventing social, economic, and political instability that promoted inclusion and participation of all members of society. The human rights-based approach (HRBA) supports collective resilience as it provides the foundation for protecting vulnerable groups from the worst impacts of crises. Embracing human rights-based approach will pave the way for a just and rights-based city that facilitates long-term development, achievements of the SDGs, and resilient city for the future.

UCLG ASPAC recognises how cities and local governments are at the core of ensuring inclusivity and people participation. Then, localising human rights in the SDGs progress should always go hand-in-hand, where civil, economic, political, social and even cultural rights are constantly upheld throughout the development process. In the spirit of human rights advocacy, UCLG ASPAC is taking the role to support the Semarang City Government in the 2021 Human Rights Festival.

During four days events, a series of activities will be conducted including discussions, exhibitions, human rights movies shows, and site visits. There will be daily movies shows and exhibitions, while discussions will be held on the second and third day.

On 17 November, jointly with Semarang City Government, National Commission on Human Rights, the Executive Office for the President (KSP) and INFID, UCLG ASPAC is hosting the Plenary 2 on “Inclusive: Participation of Vulnerable Groups in Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Recovery Efforts Post-Covid-19 Pandemic brings together policy makers, practitioners and experts in tourism to discuss the public participation in economic and tourism recovery post COVID-19 pandemic.” The purpose of this plenary is to provide a space for dialogue, exchange ideas and learning among local governments, academics, CSOs, and representatives of vulnerable groups.

Following to Plenary 2, UCLG ASPAC in collaboration with Semarang City Government is organizing a side event on migration “Improving Migration Policy and Governance that Adopts Human Rights Approach to Better Protect Migrant Workers and Accelerate the SDGs Achievement in Asia and the Pacific.” This side event is aiming to discuss the initiatives and challenges of labour migration management refinement to encourage better protection towards migrants and their families as well as promoting a safe, orderly and regular migration in Asia and the Pacific region. The side event on will bring together policy makers, experts and civil society organizations to present their experiences and perspectives on migration management and migrant workers protection to encourage local governments fulfilling the migrant’s rights as well as achieve the SDGs in relation to promotion of the safe and regular human mobility.

On 18 November, UCLG ASPAC is collaborating with Gwangju City and Raoul Wallenberg Institution (RWI) to host the side event “Just and Rights-Based Cities for Collective Resilience” during the Human Rights Festival. This event aims to promote efforts to localise human rights and SDGs and encourage further discussion and collaboration among local governments, academics, and civil society for a just and rights-based city for collective resilience.

Further, in parallel to the side event on “Just and Right-Based Cities for Collective Resilience,” UCLG ASPAC, through the Climate Resilient and Inclusive Cities Project, is also hosting the session “Collective Commitment Towards Social and Environmental Justice.” This session aims to raise awareness on the interlinkages between climate change and human rights at the local level, and to facilitate an exchange of experiences/ good practices from the Pilot Cities and local governments o catalyse climate action that leaves no-one behind. It provides an opportunity for participants to discuss concrete actions, gaps, needs, barriers and priorities for integrating climate action, local institutional capacities and enabling factors into city-level policymaking.

Through those sessions and side events, UCLG ASPAC aims to provide spaces for dialogue, exchange ideas, and shared learning among local governments, academics, civil societies, and representatives of vulnerable groups, in which will bring inclusive and sustainable recovery at both national and local levels. At the end,  it is crucial to highlight that the participation of vulnerable groups will boost the establishment of sustainable and resilient recovery.


BY KM Team

[1] https://urbantransitions.global/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Seizing_the_Urban_Opportunity_WEB.pdf, visited on 2 August 2021