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Side Event – HRC 48th: Local Government and Human Rights “The Role of Local Government in Ensuring Human Rights in Post-Pandemic Recovery”

01 October 2021


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Event description

Date: 1 October 2021, at 15:00-16:15 CET
Co-organizers: Core Group on Local Government and Human Rights (Republic of Korea, Chile, Egypt, Romania); OHCHR

Since 2013, the Human Rights Council (HRC) has biennially adopted resolutions on “Local Government and Human Rights.” Resolution 45/7, adopted in 2020, touches upon the role of local governments in ensuring human rights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While emphasizing the importance of upholding human rights in shaping pandemic response, the resolution acknowledges the essential role of local governments in ensuring a human rights-compliant response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The resolution also requests the OHCHR to prepare a report, in consultation with all States and relevant stakeholders, on the role of local governments and the challenges faced in the promotion and protection of human rights, including in relation to the right to equality and non-discrimination and the protection of persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations, with a view to identifying possible elements of principles guiding local and national governments in this regard. The report is to be presented to the 51st session of the Council.

The core group on Local Government and Human Rights – comprising the Republic of Korea, Chile, Egypt, and Romania – and OHCHR takes the opportunity of the 48th HRC meeting to organize a side event to explore specific roles that local governments may play in building back better from the pandemic crisis. Given its proximity to people and being at the grass-roots level, local governments have an advantage in responding to local needs and priorities, and can become a significant actor in realizing human rights at the local level in the post-COVID-19 era. Living up to human rights standards at the local level in post-pandemic recovery is also an imperative in that trust and support from the citizens can only stem from governance which is firmly based on human rights.

To ensure inclusive and resilient recovery from the pandemic, it is important to further engage with local governments to deal with human rights challenges brought by the COVID-19 crisis to bridge the gap between international human rights commitments and their realization on the ground. This event would also be an opportunity to raise awareness about and generate engagement in the upcoming report, and hear from local governments which are increasingly gaining a seat in the global discourse on human rights.


  • Explore the specific role of local governments in protecting and promoting human rights, including right to equality and non-discrimination, and in protecting persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations in the post-COVID-19 recovery phase.
  • Discuss how local governments may better contribute to effective political participation and gender mainstreaming in the context of shaping and implementing inclusive and resilient COVID-19 recovery policies, through the examination of best practices and experiences.
  • Raise awareness on the role of local governments in ensuring human rights in health crisis situations, through the exchange of ideas between states, local governments, civil society, and other stakeholders.

Moderator: Mr. Taeho Lee, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea

Opening Statement:

Ms. Nada Al-Nashif, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Adrian Cosmin Vierita, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Romania
Mr. Khaled Zakaria, Chief, Economic Policies Division, Institute of National Planning of Egypt

Panel Discussion:

Ms. Maha El Rabbat, Professor, WHO Director-General’s Special Envoy on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response
Ms. Mona Rishmawi
, Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Mr. Yeocheol Yoon, Ambassador for International Relations, Gwangju Metropolitan City
Ms. Amanda Flety Martinez, Coordinator of the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)