JAKARTA, Oct. 0 (IPS) – Cities have been the epicenter of the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic since 2020. City authorities are at the forefront of responding – from running test stations, to managing food distribution, to disposing of corpses. Their important role is often overlooked.
Now a growing movement in human rights cities is moving forward through epidemic recovery plans that will not only ‘build better’ but also ‘build more beautifully’.
In many cities, structural inequalities that existed before the Covid crisis were the cause of widespread slums, traffic congestion, and pollution. Poor residents have limited access to water, sanitation, clean cooking fuels and other amenities: the Covid and Lockdown system has exacerbated that inequality.
For example, losing income opportunities and being trapped in low-quality housing has made it a worse epidemic for some than for others. Local authorities should now take concerted action to include marginalized groups such as slum dwellers, women, migrants and minorities in epidemic response and recovery efforts – as some are already doing.
In Birganj, a southern city in Nepal bordering the Indian state of Bihar, many are cut off from access to basic amenities when the city goes into lockdown. City authorities have set a goal that no one will be short of food and 45 days of relief have been distributed.
They have provided oxygen to the homes of Kovid patients, reducing the burden on the city’s hospitals.
In Nagpur, India, to deal with the huge profits, the city authorities have introduced a single-vendor system for the sale of rimdcV, a drug used to treat covid patients.
In Baguio City, Philippines, the city has surpassed the test average, and has now set an ambitious goal of vaccinating 95% of its residents.
These cities have connected themselves with the growing movement of human rights cities in the region. Their commitment is to rebuild their policies and practices in line with human rights principles and norms that emerged in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
If the approach could be summed up in one sentence, it would be ‘No One’s Backward’ – a slogan popularized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the international community in 2050 and its 1 Sustainable Development Goals.
Asian governments are often seen as lagging behind in implementing international human rights standards. It’s ugly. Although social and development challenges take on larger dimensions, city authorities are often at the forefront of steps for change.
The epidemic has provided an opportunity for local governments to better protect human rights – as the cities mentioned here have been chosen. However, many local government authorities need increased capacity and practical guidance to “localize” human rights in the context of their own epidemic. In this effort, national authorities can provide important signals and assistance.
In 2016, the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights established a National Platform for Human Rights Regency / Cities (District / city takes care of human rights). The platform enables voluntary assessment of the performance of city authorities in fulfilling human economic, social and cultural rights (such as right to water and sanitation, or right to food) and also focuses on certain civil and political rights (such as right to information, non-discrimination and, more recently, governance). Participation).
As of 2020, 9 of Indonesia’s 51 regency and city authorities participated in the program, and 259 of them were recognized as human rights cities or regents.
City authorities have earned honors from the award and have taken steps to integrate international human rights standards with national law and city by-laws, policies and programs. The East Lampung Regency in Sumatra, for example, is committed to achieving an inclusive, democratic and solidarity-based society through dialogue with urban residents.
A mayor’s decree emphasizes the city’s role in protecting human rights and identifies the responsible units within the mayor’s office, their work and the scope of their budget.
In Guangzhou, Republic of Korea, local authorities have decided to address the problems of poverty, high suicide rates, out-of-school children and mobility-impaired residents. Through open forums and consultations, where they tried to understand the situation of migrants, registered workers and other marginalized residents.
Based on the results, they formulated a number of action plans that included educating citizens about immigrant rights and establishing a comprehensive support network for immigrants.
In October 2021, the city of Guangzhou convened local government authorities around the world at the annual World Human Rights City Forum. The city of Guangzhou is at the forefront of promoting the concept of human rights city and emphasizes the importance of local government authorities taking an active and responsible role in promoting and protecting human rights.
At this year’s forum, city authorities will discuss the emergence of new social contracts for post-epidemic recovery, and 11 local authorities from Asia will present their own projects to integrate human rights-based approaches into more resilient, local policies and programs for fairness. And sustainable cities.
Across the region, there is a growing realization that protecting human rights makes safer, greener and better places to live. Adopting a human rights-based approach helps to prioritize vulnerable groups that would otherwise be ignored and address local needs and challenges through a participatory process. The city authorities have the key to good practice and ‘beautiful forward building’.
Wendy Orini Raul is a program officer in the Jakarta office of the Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. He is an expert in Inclusive Societies and holds a Master of Philosophy in Theory and Human Rights from the University of Oslo. Prior to joining RWI, he worked as a Human Rights Officer at the ASEAN Secretariat and Program Manager at the Law Office.
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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service