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Human Rights City of Graz

Project summary:

Since February 2001, Graz is the first Human Rights City in Europe. The idea and initiative of ‘human rights cities’ was developed in 1997 by PDHRE – the People’s Decade for Human Rights Education, an NGO located in New York. Since 2000, the ETC has been working for strong networking and capacity-building with regional actors such as NGOs, municipal departments and civil society in all areas related to the protection and the promotion of human rights at the local level in order to make Graz the first human rights city of Europe. A first analysis investigated the strengths and shortcomings regarding the implementation of human rights in Graz, and was presented at a conference in June 2002. The findings were utilised for the formulation of guidelines on whose basis a program of activities was developed.

Graz, as a Human Rights City, is committed to protect, advance and respect the rights of every human being. Therefore, the city of Graz has established the Human Rights Advisory Council to undertake human rights monitoring and to publish annual reports on the matter. The ETC serves as the office of the Human Rights Advisory Council. The ETCs former director Wolfgang Benedek was the first chair of the Council, the current chair (since June 2011) is the Styrian Ombud for Equal Treatment, Elke Lujansky-Lammer. Together, numerous services have been and are being provided, such as: the coordination of the process to establish Graz as a Human Rights City; the respective coordination of institutions, NGOs and civil society; the realisation of action program 2002; cooperation with other Human Rights Cities and local NGOs to inform the public of the Human Rights City project.

The first annual report of the Human Rights Advisory Council was published 2008 and can be downloaded at the ETC homepage ( which also provides further information of current projects of the Human Rights City of Graz.


Project dates:

Since 2001 different projects have continuously been developed and held under the Human Rights City of Graz.

Information (German) is available at: