Post-Conference Press Statement from PHRGE

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Human Rights Institute at Northeastern University School of Law
Affirms Importance of Local Action to Protect and Advance Human Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2016

CONTACTS: Jackie Smith, National Human Rights City Network, jgsmith@pitt.edu
Kevin Murray, Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy k.murray@northeastern.edu 

On December 8 & 9, 2016, over 150 academics, advocates and activists for urban social justice gathered for the 11th annual PHRGE Human Rights Institute entitled, “Global Justice Goes Local: The Emergence of Human Rights Cities.”  Northeastern University School of Law’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy organized the event in collaboration with the National Human Rights City Network, a project of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN).

Local human rights and social justice advocates from cities including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Eugene, OR, Jackson, MS, New York, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Washington, DC and Worcester, MA, contributed to this year’s conference. Students and academics from Boston University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Jackson State University, the University of Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell, Northeastern University, the University of Pittsburgh, Santa Clara University and Simmons College also participated in the discussions. 

Institute participants concluded that the current political transition in the United States presents a number of serious threats to the human rights of a large part of the U.S. population, as well as many millions of people living outside this country. The next period promises particular dangers for groups singled out for attacks in the political discourse of the recent election. The space for engagement with the U.S. federal government on the fulfillment of its human rights obligations promises to shrink significantly under the incoming administration. In that context, active human rights engagement at the state and, especially, the local level will become more important to our ongoing efforts to advance and protect human rights. Organizing models such as Human Rights Cities, Cities for CEDAW, Sanctuary Cities and many others will, therefore, become increasingly relevant. 

In this spirit, the 11th PHRGE Human Rights Institute concluded with an affirmation of the recommendations to local activists made by the National Human Rights City Network on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2016.

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