PHRGE LOGO12.01.16 — On December 8-9, 2016, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) will host its 11th annual Human Rights Institute at the School of Law. This year’s institute, “Global Justice Goes Local: The Emergence of Human Rights Cities,” will convene scholars and advocates to explore the human rights cities movement, a movement that is linking human rights to urban social justice organizing in the service of local human rights implementation.

"The idea of bringing together academics, advocates and activists on the topic of local implementation of human rights was exciting to us when we agreed on this topic early in 2016," says Kevin Murray, PHRGE's executive director. "The presidential election earlier this month has made the topic even more timely than we originally anticipated."

By its nature, human rights advocacy has generally focused on the obligations of national governments to implement human rights. It is the ratification of international human rights treaties by national governments that activates those obligations, and the Universal Periodic Review process rightly draws the attention of activists to national progress on meeting treaty obligations. But state and local governments also have human rights obligations under human rights law, and over the past two decades, activists have organized to demand that sub-national governments take seriously those obligations. The global discussion of “the right to the city,” and the human rights cities movement are two important manifestations of this trend, as are CEDAW cities, sanctuary cities and the considerable issue-based organizing at the local level that has made use of the human rights framework as an advocacy tool.

As the only US law-school-based human rights center focused on economic, social and cultural rights, PHRGE is well positioned to host an institute on this topic. The program participated in the founding conference of the National Human Rights Cities Network, and members of the Network’s steering committee are collaborating in the planning and organization of the institute, and will be in attendance.

For more information, contact PHRGE Assistant Director Elizabeth Ennen at or at 617-373-8194.

>> Event website
>> Register online