Local Government and Human Rights

Local governments play a key role in the promotion and protection of human rights. Local government has different forms and functions depending on the constitutional and legal systems of the State concerned. One of its important functions is to provide public services that address local needs and priorities related to the realisation of human rights at the local level. Although the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights rests with national governments, the promotion of a human rights culture within local public services plays a vital role in promoting respect for and the realisation of human rights in society. To this end, human rights education, awareness-raising and training for public officials is important at both the national and local government levels.

Human Rights Council resolutions

Human Rights Council resolutions 24/2 of 26 September 2013, 27/4 of 25 September 2014 and 33/8 of 29 September 2016 concerned the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights.

At its thirty-ninth session, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 39/7 in which it requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on effective methods to foster cooperation between local government and local stakeholders for the effective promotion and protection of human rights at their level through local government programmes, including raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals, and to indicate the major challenges and best practices in this regard, and to submit the report to the Council prior to its forty-second session.

In line with Council resolution 39/7, requesting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to consult with all States and relevant intergovernmental organizations, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, relevant special procedures of the Human Rights Council, the Advisory Committee, the treaty bodies, national human rights institutions, civil society, including non-governmental organisations, and local governments, the following Note Verbale and letters were prepared and disseminated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in December 2018.

Note Verbale and letters:

Responses received:

States

Intergovernmental organizations

Local Governments

United Nations agencies, funds and programmes

Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council Advisory Committee

Human Rights Treaty Bodies

National Human Rights Institutions

Civil Society, including Non-Governmental Organisations