Introduction: The Promise and Challenges of Human Rights Cities
B. Oomen, M. Davis, & M. Grigolo, 2016. Global urban justice: The rise of human rights cities.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
19 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2017
Date Written: 2016
One of the metro stations in Gwangju, Korea, is filled with sculptures, posters and books dedicated to human rights. The site is designed to underscore Gwangju’s identity as a human rights city; in commemorating the massacre of 200,000 striking workers, protesting students, and citizens that occurred in 1980, the city has reinvented itself as the ‘birthplace of democracy’ (Lee 2007). In its Basic Ordinance on Human Rights, the city sets out its aspiration to be ‘the model city, which succeeds, develops, and realises the historicity and spirit of democracy and human rights in the local community, and spreads them widely’ (Bouchard 2014). In defining itself as a human rights city, Gwangju is not alone. When it hosted the World Human Rights Cities Forum in 2014, it welcomed 500 participants to discuss creating ‘Global Alliance of Human Rights Cities for All’.1 The urban actors in Gwangju are just part of a much larger group of cities to explicitly base their urban policies on international human rights.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation