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Graz City of Human Rights

Graz is home to people from 150 countries belonging to 70 religious denominations. In order to foster an atmosphere of goodwill, harmony and peace, tolerance and respect for all concerned, the City of Graz has for many years been committed to maintaining a dialogue between different cultures and religions, ranging from the Second European Ecumenical Assembly in 1997 to the "Interreligious Conference Graz - Com Unity Spirit" in 2013.

In 2001, the City of Graz took a further decisive step to ensure that humanitarian values and principles would guide all its actions: on 8 February, the City Council voted unanimously to declare Graz the first European City of Human Rights and pledged to consider human rights issues in all its future decisions. In this "Human Rights Declaration of the City of Graz" (see full text here), Graz also vows to seek and find deficits related to matters of human rights on all levels of society, in order to respond accordingly to them.    

ECCaR Initiative (german site) 
ECCaR Initiative (german site)
In 2005, the City of Graz created an integration department that coordinates and implements integration measures together with other Graz service centres and NGOs, develops projects and strategies and awards grants. In 2006, Graz joined the "European Coalition of Cities against Racism" (ECCaR) and established the "Interreligious Advisory Committee", which consists of representatives of state-recognised religions who advise the Mayor on religious matters.

2007 saw the foundation of the City of Graz "Human Rights Committee" which makes sure that Graz does a good job as City of Human Rights. It accompanies the Styrian provincial capital on its way, offering support and advice with evaluations, watching election campaigns and publishing the annual "Human Rights Report".   

In 2008, the City of Graz awarded its own "Human Rights Award" for the first time, followed in 2009 by a resolution to combat violence against women, and in 2010 by a first report on poverty. In 2012, Graz joined the "European Charta for the equality of women and men in local life" and the Province of Styria established its anti-discrimination office in the same year.

Graz City Administration has a number of other organisations that are committed to ensuring that people get on well with each other and that human rights are observed. The Migrant Advisory Council for example, which represents the interests of non-EU citizens in Graz and advises administrative and political bodies, keeps in touch with immigrants and offers them information at various events. The Graz Peace Bureau is a competence centre that endorses peaceful and non-violent coexistence in the city, introducing methods and approaches to deal with conflict and violence.

In that way, Graz City of Human Rights works hard to make Graz a city in which ALL citizens feel happy to live.

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