Human Rights in Times of Challenge: A New Social Contract

The 11th World Human Rights Cities Forum is coming up from Thur. 7th of October until the 10th of October 2021.


The World Human Rights Cities Forum (Forum or WHRCF hereafter) is held as an annual event in Gwangju, Republic of Korea, to realize the vision of becoming a human rights city since 2011. The Forum has become a gathering place to share the spirit of justice and community, the same values under which the citizens of Gwangju resisted against the ruthless oppression of the then military regime in May 1980. Within the WHRCF participants exchange experiences on challenges and achieved successes on human rights especially at local level while expanding their own scope of understanding. Now, the Forum has become a major human rights event and distinctive platform for sharing and networking amongst human rights cities, human rights organizations, activists, and miscellaneous stakeholders in the area of human rights.

Human Rights Cities recognize cities as key players in promoting and protecting human rights. The term generally refers to cities where local governments and residents are governed morally and legitimately under human rights principles. The Gwangju Declaration on Human Rights Cities, adopted during the very first World Human Rights Cities Forum, defines human rights cities as “both a local community and a socio‐political process in a local context, where human rights play a key role as the fundamental values and guiding principles”. Human rights cities emphasize the importance of inter-local and international cooperation and solidarity among cities engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, securing wide participation from all actors and interest groups, in particular socially marginalized and vulnerable groups, and the importance of effective and independent human rights protection and management systems.

– Report of the Human Right Council on its 13th session (A/HRC/30/49, August, 2015).
From “Role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights”


  • Oct. 6th: Regional Consultation on the Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City: Local Experiences and Perspectives on Human Rights, UCLG-CISDP. Know more about our allies UCLG at the WHRF.

  • Oct. 9th: Right to the City (18:00 – 20:00): Exploring the Right to the City from the Perspectives of the Asia Region How to Face Climate Change and Covid-19. Organizers: Committee on Social, Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights; Kota Kita Foundation; Huairou Commission; Social Equity and Participation Center, China; and Gwangju International Center.

Register here for this event: