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US National Human Rights Cities Alliance

About The US Human Rights Cities Alliance works to build a network of local, national, and international human rights leaders and to support activists and organizers advancing the human rights city organizing framework. The Alliance promotes the development and sharing of knowledge about models and better practices for strengthening respect for human rights and dignity. A key goal is to help local groups make better use of global human rights standards, institutions, and movements to protect and promote human rights in local communities. Our work is guided by the Human Rights Cities Statement of Principles which advance “people-centered human rights" that emerge from the experiences and struggles of marginalized communities. Recognizing that “human rights don’t trickle down, they rise up”, we support communities organizing and acting together to bring human rights to bear at home.


Resources for starting a Human Rights City initiative near you

Current Projects

CERD Cities 2022: Using International Law to Advance Racial Justice in our Cities In August 2022, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) examined the U.S. record of compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD or CERD). This review saw unprecedented mobilization from U.S. civil society, and their work contributed to a powerful document that can help us call on governments at city and state levels to bring their practices in line with international expectations and obligations. Our work ahead will help "bring CERD home" to our cities and help residents and public officials learn about this important global process.

  • The CERD Committee’s Final Report details recommendations that the U.S. government is expected to respond to by November 2025 or earlier (several issues require responses after one year).

City Shadow Reports & Related documentation

Past Activities

2022 Convening--Organizing for the US Review by Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (hybrid) Using global human rights to strengthen anti-racism organizing and resist ongoing retrenchment of democracy and human rights July 19-21, 2022, Washington DC/ hybrid. Co-Sponsor & Host: Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, Howard University School of Law, Washington DC

"Bringing Human Rights Home: U.S. Cities & the UPR--Thursday March 11, 2021 4:00PM CET (Geneva)/ 10:00AM EST (NYC) 46th UN Human Rights Council Side Event--Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Adoption of Final Report on the USA' US Human Rights Cities Alliance

U.S. communities aren’t waiting for human rights leadership from Washington: they’re using UPR recommendations to hold local governments accountable to global human rights standards. Community organizers share how they’re using global human rights to change the United States and how international leadership can support this work. Panelists: Jennifer Harbury - Angry Tias & Abuelas - Weslaco, TX (Rio Grande Valley); anu jain, Executive Director, City of Pittsburgh Gender Equity Commission; Sharon Lavigne - RISE St.James, St. James, Louisiana, Cancer Alley; Vincenzo Pasquantonio - Founding ED of Human Rights Commision, New Orleans; Randall Taylor –Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition & Stop the Station, Pittsburgh; Lorena Quiroz - Immigrant Alliance for Justice & Equity, Jackson, MS; Patricio Rubio-Another Gulf is Possible- Rio Grande Valley, TX; Vickie Casanova Willis – US Human Rights Network; Gabriela Zavala - Resource Center Matamoros - TX/Mexico

View recording here Download flier

Zero Evictions Days 2020

  • October 24-November 5: Learn about how global real estate investors are raising rents and pushing out urban residents around the world--: View the Film- Push online.
  • Thursday October 29 7:00pm Webinar Part 1: Building a Global Movement to Protect the Right to Housing--Dialogue featuring Leilani Farha—former UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Adequate Housing, joined by housing and human rights leaders from Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and New York view recording here.
  • Thursday November 5 7:00PM –Webinar Part 2: Movement building for the Human Right to Housing: Local organizers from Philadelphia, Atlanta and Pittsburgh discuss ideas for building a powerful cross-city movement for the human right to housing and an end to evictions. Zoom meeting link For more details and speakers see: Zero Evictions Days 2020

Recent Work

Recordings of past webinars

Black resistances to dismantle violent police repression in the crux of the pandemic in the United States have inspired a global wave of resistance to both the immediate threats from violent police repression and the wider systemic forces that drive racial inequities and fuel what UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, E. Tendayi Achiume has called “a human rights crisis of existential proportions.” The global community has become activated like never before to demand accountability and transformative changes to address long-standing injustices. This webinar will offer context and clarity to help community leaders and activists learn how global human rights law and institutions can support our movements for fundamental changes in the United States. Participants will learn more about organizing work to hold local and national authorities accountable to global human rights. Speakers: Dominique Day, UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; Ejim Dike, former Executive Director, US Human Rights Network; Jamil Dakwar ACLU Human Rights Program Director; Salimah Hankins, Acting Director, US Human Rights Network. Facilitators: Johnaca Dunlap-Ubuntu Institute & US Human Rights Cities Alliance Steering Committee; Rob Robinson-International Alliance of Inhabitants & US Human Rights Cities Alliance Steering Committee. View Recording Flier

  • NEW: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Calls for Greater Coordination with Local Governments & Civil Society. In a report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights clarifies the important role of local governments in the implementation of international human rights standards, providing reports and recommendations for actions by local and national governments. Many of these recommendations complement the work we are doing in the Human Rights Cities movement and the UPR Cities project. Download Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Local Government and Human Rights

We work to realize human rights by:

  • Engaging, connecting and mobilizing communities, Peoples, workers, and diverse sectors across issue areas, constituencies, and regions to uphold and defend human rights and hold government accountable;
  • Building the capacity and leadership of grassroots groups and individuals to effectively apply the human rights framework in developing strategy and making long-term structural shifts to achieve justice;
  • Raising the visibility of local human rights concerns and activism to shape the public discourse locally, nationally, and internationally; and
  • Facilitating effective collective action to secure the structural change needed to fully realize human rights.

The US Human Rights Network is guided by these core principles:

  • Human rights are universal, interdependent, indivisible, and inalienable.
  • Human rights movements must be led by those most directly affected by human rights violations.
  • Human rights advocacy and organizing should prioritize the struggles of the poor and most marginalized groups in society.
  • Human rights movements must be inclusive and respect and reflect the diversity within communities.
  • Human rights encompass civil, political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, sexual, and development rights for individuals, Peoples, and groups.

For a more elaborated version see our: Statement of Principles.

UPR Cities Project and Toolkit

International Human Rights Monitoring

This page links to work by national and international human rights organizers to use international treaties and United Nations human rights review processes to hold local and national officials in the United States accountable to our international human rights obligations.

Housing is a Human Right!

Educational and Outreach Tools

Reports and Documentation