York & North Yorkshire

York to become UK's 'first Human Rights City'

York Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption York is declaring itself the UK's first Human Rights City on 24 April

York has said it is to become the UK's first Human Rights City.

The status means businesses, residents and organisations including the council and police refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in everyday activities and policies.

Lord Mayor of York Dave Taylor is to make the declaration on 24 April.

He said it was important for the city's people to work towards "treating everyone equally, with fairness, dignity and respect".

The campaign for the status, which was launched in 2011, was organised by the York Human Rights City Network (YHRCN).

Stephen Pittam, from YHRCN, said: "York has the ambition to use human rights in decision-making, promote awareness and debate about human rights and ensure all residents' rights are respected.

"Each existing human rights city has built on its own particular history when seeking to give local content to the label.

"In both the past and present, York has a strong record of activity in the field of social justice."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption York will be among 30 other cities across the world including Vienna in Austria, with the Human Rights City status

York will join more than 30 Human Rights Cities worldwide, including Graz and Vienna in Austria, Seattle in the US and Edmonton in Canada.

Councillor Thomas Rajakovics, of Graz, and York Central MP Rachael Maskell are expected to attend an event at the Merchant Taylors' Hall where the city will give itself the designation.

No other UK city had given itself the title, the University of York's Centre for Applied Human Rights said.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a document stating a number of conditions including the right to life, the right not to be tortured and the right to seek asylum from persecution among others.

It was put together in 1948 after the end of World War Two and presented to the United Nations by US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

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