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York: Human Rights City

About us

York: Human Rights City (YHRC) is an exciting initiative that seeks to bridge the gap between international obligations and the everyday claiming of rights at a local level. Through networking with organisations and individuals passionate about respecting rights in York, we seek to create a culture of human rights and acts as a catalyst for York people, organisations and business to champion a vibrant, diverse, fair and safe city.

On April 24, 2017, York was declared the UK's first Human Rights City. On 8 December 2016, YHRC launched the first annual Human Rights Indicator report, following the 13–14 January 2016 event on human rights cities. A follow up report in December 2017 provided an update on the indicators. For more information see York Human Rights Indicator Baseline Report (2016) (PDF , 975kb)York Human Rights 2nd Indicator Report (2017) (PDF , 3,340kb) and 'The Rise of Human Rights Cities: Why Cities? Why Now?' 

York is one of over 100 human rights cities, and there are currently seven in Europe (find out more information on the network of European Human Rights Cities).


In 2016, we were awarded ESRC funding to undertake a participatory research project with students from the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) in order to create a set of human rights indicators that would provide focus to discussions about human rights in York. This research identified five priority rights for York: equality & non-discrimination; education; housing, health & social care and a decent standard of living. We worked with local charities to select two or three indicators for each right, to enable us to measure progress over time. In this way, working together with the Council, North Yorkshire Police and York CVS, as well as CAHR students, we are developing a whole new approach to local human rights measurement. This is being used in local advocacy, and to raise awareness in the community, generating debate. It also provides useful data to inform the city's newly-created Human Rights and Equality Board.

The third indicator report, which focused on the right to housing, was published in January 2019 YHRC Indicator report 2019 (PDF , 3,653kb).


Human rights education is central to the philosophy of YHRC.

In collaboration with the Independent State School Partnership, Opinionate, our termly workshops are facilitated by University of York students with pupils across a range of ages and schools, discussing current issues and hot topics. Recent outputs of these include the establishment of a Human Rights Council in one local school, a set of short films discussing the York priority rights, and ongoing work to develop a Young Persons Indicator Report.


As part of fostering a stronger human rights culture in York, YHRC puts on events to raise local awareness of rights and issues.

2018 marked the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and YHRC organised and supported a number of events to celebrate this, including hosting the British Institute of Human Rights' March for Human Rights event, running a multimedia Human Rights Festival in November, a public meeting with guest speaker Francesca Klug, OBE, and a public consultation on York's human rights indicator report on Human Rights Day (10th December).

We were part of the organising committees for the programme of events for the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, which featured over twenty different events, including a workshop on the Impact of Welfare Reforms on Disabled People.

Please visit our website for the latest on our upcoming events.


Please make your pledge of support for human rights in York and York as the UK's first Human Rights City. Please make your pledge here.

York Human Rights City Network pledge cardYork Human Rights City Network plege card


For any questions relating to the York Human Rights City Network, please email

or visit the website

York human rights city logo

York Human Rights City declaration with Stephen Pittam, Paul Gready, and the Lord Mayor and Lord Mayoress of York

York is declared a Human Rights City on 24 April 2017.

Doodle drawing at York Human Rights City declaration event

York: Human Rights City Declaration event at the Merchant Taylors' Hall (2017)

 ‌Delegates at workshop January 2016

YHRCN workshop (2016)

Shami Chakrabarti giving a talk (2015)

BIHR Human Rights Tour in York (2014)