What is a Rights-Respecting town?
Bridport is the first town to declare itself ‘Rights-Respecting’ (RR) There are currently 39 ‘Human Rights (HR) Cities’ across the world. A HR City is a municipality that refers explicitly to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards and/or law in their policies, statements, and programmes. The only English HR City is York.
What are Human Rights?
Human rights are moral principles that describe certain standards of human behaviour and are protected as natural and legal rights in municipal and international law. They are commonly understood as inalienable,fundamental rights “to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being”[ and which are “inherent in all human beings”.
Who has declared Bridport to be Rights Respecting?
The then Mayor of Bridport, Anne Rickard , backed by the Bridport Town Council (TC) declared the town to be RR on 31st January 2018. The TC has committed itself to exploring how it can adjust its activity to ensure that the human rights of all Bridport citizens are upheld.
What prompted our Town Council to make this declaration?
Many local and national schools are RR. The TC has regularly met with the town’s youth council and young people have championed the RR approach citing the positive impact on behaviour and attitude at their school. They requested that the TC considered broadening out this approach across the wider town citizenship.
How does being Rights Respecting help schools with pupil behaviour and attitude?
A RR school places all articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the heart of the school ethos and values. All children are explicitly taught their rights and grow to understand the responsibilities that go hand in hand with these rights. The result is a school community that has an underpinning set of values, held by all children across the world. The community understands how to behave like responsible young citizens, treating all others with respect. These values are captured in a ‘Charter of Rights and Responsibilities’ that all sign up to, and all can refer to as they grow.
What is the significance of the Charter?
A strong Charter is formed in consultation with the community it relates to. It allows all to explore key rights and familiarises all with the articles of the Human Rights Act (HRA). It identifies which Rights are particularly relevant to the community and it states the key responsibilities and behaviours required to ensure all have equal access to their rights. All within the community are then encouraged to sign it, to commit to acting on it. Our Town Charter has been written following consultation with town citizen groups. The intention is for it to develop in time as we learn from experience.
So, what’s in it for me?
All Bridport citizens are protected by the HRA. By becoming more involved you will better understand all rights that you hold, and recognise when these rights are being denied by the actions of others. You will play an active part in further developing our town within a values framework that works for all faiths, ethnic and social backgrounds. The RR Town initiative is completely non party-political.