Human Rights Cities: A Framework for Localizing Human Rights

Project Details


The growing relevance of localization is a relatively recent phenomenon in international human rights law. Local authorities may not only have an obligation to abide by human rights but also themselves contribute to shaping human rights interaction with local inhabitants. A prominent example of this local engagement with human rights is the establishment of so-called Human Rights Cities.

Turku has taken an active approach towards human rights. It has committed to achieving SDGs, safeguarding children and other vulnerable groups and promoting and fulfilling a wide set of human rights. There is, however, not yet a tool to address all these issues in a coherent manner. This is the key problem the research sets out to address. The hypothesis of this research is that the human rights based approach adopted within the framework of the human rights city concept could be a useful method to systematise the work towards these human rights related goals. The project will provide a comprehensive knowledge base enabling Turku to decide whether it would benefit from becoming the first Human Rights City of Finland. The project taps into synergies with the Turku City Strategy in several respects. It offers a coherent approach to preventing exclusion and providing support for vulnerable inhabitants, and it strengthens resident participation as an important part of the city's core operations, planning and decision-making. The innovativeness of the project lies in testing the application of the human rights city concept to the Finnish context and in its co-creation approach. The project foresees collaboration with the Central Administration of the city of Turku and key stakeholders such as civil society organisations.
Effective start/end date01/08/2131/12/22


  • City of Turku

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions