Urban Law Day 2018: Human Rights in Cities

Urban Law Day 2018: Human Rights in Cities
13 July 2018, 10.00am - 1.30pm
Conference / Symposium
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR


Urban Law Day 2018: Human Rights in Cities

The Urban Law Day is a specialised forum aiming to bring together a multidisciplinary circle of academics and practitioners interested in urban legislation, including planners, architects, policy makers, economists, urbanises, and lawyers.

The purpose of the Urban Law Day is to facilitate discussion, the exchange of views, networking, and the presentation of new research findings or emerging issues. The fifth Urban Law Day will address specific legal issues linked to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.


The New Urban Agenda was adopted by the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) on the 20th October 2016. The New Urban Agenda is a non-binding roadmap that sets policy objectives for environmental friendly which are engines of prosperity and centres of cultural and social well-being.

Major commitments in the New Urban Agenda include the provision of basic services for all citizens in an equal and non-discriminatory way; respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; measures for cleaner cities; strengthened resilience and reduced risk and impact of disasters; actions to address climate change and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; respect for the rights of refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons; improved connectivity and support for innovative and green initiatives; and safe, accessible and green public spaces.

Human Rights challenges in cities involve diverse situations ranging from access to housing and basic services, security issues, forced evictions, gender specific concerns, the rights of vulnerable groups like children, older people or migrants etc. Taking a closer look at some of these challenges and their specific features will allow an exploration of effective strategies to address them.
Purpose and expected outcome of the Urban Law Day

The overall objective of the Urban Law Day is to explore in more depth the commitments in the New Urban Agenda affecting human rights in urban environments. The Urban Law Day will explore specific aspects of human rights and governance and ways to address them. Participants will be asked to share country experiences, challenges and ideas and to actively participate in discussion. 


10.00 Introduction & Welcome address

An overview of commitments in the New Urban Agenda related to human rights and governance - Robert Lewis-Lettington, Coordinator, Urban legislation, land and Governance Branch, UN-Habitat 

The rise of human rights in cities - Professor Barbara Oomen, University College Roosevelt (Utrecht University), NWO research project ‘Cities of Refuge’ 

Ending forced evictions and homelessness: strong foundations for human rights in cities - Malavika Vartak, Researcher/ Policy Adviser, ESCR Team, Amnesty International


Coffee break 

Major human rights challenges in cities: regional and country experiences

  • The experience of Somalia, Abdirahman Mohamoud and Fathi Egal, Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG)
  • The experience of Palestine, Ahmad El-Atrash, Senior National Urban Programme Officer, UN Habitat Palestinian Territory
  • Highlights from Latin America, Alain Girard, Senior Human Settlements Officer, UN Habitat Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Practical tools to assist the implementation of human rights commitments 

  • The Slum Upgrading Tool, Han Zhang, Urban Legislation Unit, UN-Habitat
  • Human Rights Impact Assessment, Dr. Maria Mousmouti, IALS

Q & A – Discussion

13.30 – End

This event is free but advanced booking is required.  All welcome.


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