Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance

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Pittsburgh Human Rights City AllianceDignity & Justice for All of us"Human rights don't trickle down...they RISE UP!"

COVID19 is a Reminder: Health is a Human Right!

Human rights principles and international law provide protections that can improve our capacities for managing this crisis and help prevent future crises like that we're seeing today.

Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance works to bring together diverse groups and individuals to help envision and realize a city that maximizes human rights and dignity for all people who live in our region (See Human Rights Cities Principles). We work with local struggles to implement people-centered human rights in Pittsburgh.

Updates & Current Activities

Learning from COVID-19:Shaping a Health and Human Rights Agenda for our Region
We can’t return to status quo if we are to prevent the multiple breakdowns and failures we’re now seeing with COVID-19. Resilience and long-term, community well-being requires dramatic improvements to public infrastructure and support for housing, food, & health security. We're working with diverse groups in the community to host this forum series and build a strong people’s movement to help us realize a society that prioritizes equity and the human right to health, so that every member of our community can live dignified lives. We'll meet alternate Thursdays from 4-5:30. Click here for details, recordings and summaries of past discussions

Bringing Human Rights Home

*UPR Pittsburgh Bringing Global Human Rights Home: Pittsburgh's Human Rights Assessment & the United Nations Together with human rights defenders around the country, Pittsburgh residents are working to bring the stories and accounts of human rights conditions in our region to the United Nations through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. Over 2019-2020, the United States human rights record will be reviewed by international representatives and human rights experts, and the UN will issue a formal report with recommendations to the US government for improving respect for the country's international human rights obligations. A key to the UPR's effectiveness is engagement from civil society, and we're working to provide opportunities for residents to learn about human rights and the UPR process as we generate ideas for how we can make Pittsburgh and Southwest PA places where human rights thrive.

Pittsburgh Activists File Report to UN on State of Human Rights in Region

Pittsburgh City Council Passes Zero Evictions Proclamation in Solidarity with Global Movement for Housing Justice


  • Learning from COVID-19: Shaping a Health and Human Rights Agenda for our Region Thursday May 28, 2020 4:00-5:30PM Treating Racism as a Public Health Emergency (Link to be provided) The COVID-19 crisis has heightened everyone’s vulnerabilities as those furthest behind economically are now visible as the frontline workers providing essential services for our communities. Confirmed speakers: Olivia "Liv" Bennett, Allegheny County Council member & sponsor of motion declaring racism a public health emergency; SEIU Healthcare; Putting People First PA. Facilitator/Discussant: Dr. Dara D. Mendez, PhD, MPH. Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. More details here

  • MOVED ONLINE/DETAILS COMING SOON!: Alternate Sundays Jan. 12-May 31: Discussion series: A Green New Deal for Western Pennsylvania convening to explore ideas for bringing a green new deal to our region. The group is reading essays from Naomi Klein's book On Fire: The (Burning) Case for the Green New Deal, and hears from local scientists, advocates, and organizations. Meetings are alternate Sundays from 5-7PM, Jan. 12-May 31. Location: 1 Smithfield/Human Services Building, Downtown PGH. Co-sponsored by the Sunrise movement, Extinction Rebellion, and Izaak Walton League. See Schedule here.
  • POSTPONED: DATE TBD Community Forum on Human Rights and Habitat This community forum brings Pittsburgh voices to the United Nations as part of the global community's assessment of human rights conditions in the United States. Learn about how rights to housing, decent jobs, health, and other rights require efforts to protect the environment. Discuss ideas for policy changes that can help us better protect and advance the human rights of residents of our region, and learn how community groups can work to realize our vision of a city where everyone enjoys the human right to grow and prosper in a safe place of one's choice. Co-sponsors: The Pittsburgh Universal Periodic Review task force, which includes: Alliance for Police Accountability, Casa San Jose, Green Party of Allegheny County, Hill District Consensus Group, Pittsburgh for CEDAW, Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, Just Harvest, City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission & Gender Equity Commission, Urbankind Institute, and others.
  • POSTPONED TO FALL 2020/Date TBD CMU Film Festival features Push --on the global housing crisis and its links with global finance and banking industry. Featuring a post-film panel with United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Housing, Ms. Leilani Farha, whose work is featured in the film. 3:00PM at CMU’s McConomy Auditorium. Click here for tickets and full CMU Film festival details
    • Thursday, March 19 through Sunday April 5: CMU Film Festival features "Faces of Home," covering everything from intimate settings and relationships to the promotion and alleged protection of national “homelands." Click here for more information.

Other meetings

Housing Justice

  • Housing is a Human Right-Letter to Officials The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, recently directed letters to governments and corporate leaders around the world, pointing out how prevailing policies violate international human rights obligations. This page has details and a template for contacting your local leaders to remind them of their international legal obligations.
  • Housing Justice Pittsburgh Building community power to fight displacement and promote our "Right to the City."
  • Housing Summit 2018 Area organizations are working together to build a broad alliance for affordable housing in our region. Mark your calendars for our November 10, 2018 Housing Summit, and watch for a series of events and activities aimed to develop new strategies for addressing Pittsburgh's housing crisis.
  • Housing is a Human Right: Slideshow on international treaties and opportunities to promote the human right to housing

Learn more about how Amazon's bid to move to Pittsburgh would affect human rights here. Resources, data, and recordings of community forums.

International Human Rights Monitoring

This page links to work by national and international human rights organizers to use international treaties and United Nations human rights review processes to hold local and national officials in the United States accountable to our international human rights obligations.

News & Updates

Human Rights Budgeting-Ideas and Resources for transforming how our city plans: This page shares links and background resources about how activists around the world are working to change the scripts of local politics to prioritize human rights over economic measures of progress. We believe that urban planning and development should be explicit in its attention to human rights and equity. More democratic budgeting processes are key to making this happen, and that means we all need to learn more about how city budgeting works and how it could be re-organized to engage more of the people who live in our region.

Take Action:

Regularly scheduled meetings/ Local Human Rights Groups

Alerts & Updates

  • Campaign to Stop Plan to Increase Policing on Public Transit-- This campaign led by the Alliance for Police Accountability, Casa San Jose, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, and the Thomas Merton Center warns that the Port Authority's planned fare enforcement policy will unfairly impact communities of color, increase the problematic trend of criminalizing young people, and threaten immigrant residents.The campaign is calling for civilian fare enforcers rather than armed Port Authority Police and a citation process rather than a criminal process to deal with fare evasion (See FAQs for more information). Community organizations and individuals are asked to write letters to the Port Authority in support of this campaign (see sample letter).
  • PIttsburgh Public Schools Passes Sanctuary Resolution
  • Pittsburgh becomes 6th US City for CEDAW A broad coalition of human rights advocates helped advance a new ordinance enacting the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in our City, December 6, 2016. Stay involved in the work to carry out this commitment to better address needs of women and girls, families and communities in our city! www.pgh4cedaw.org

University-Based Projects

  • Pittsburgh area university faculty, staff, and graduate students are invited to join the University Human Rights Network. We invite volunteers from different campuses to help support work on your campus and coordinate with other campuses.
  • Pitt Human Rights Initiative
  • Campus worker organizing: Pitt faculty, graduate student workers, and other workers are organizing for their rights and to support and protect the right to education. Keep informed about the campaign on their website and Facebook page

How to get involved

Please get in touch if you're interested in some of these ongoing projects or in efforts to follow-up some of these past initiatives. We are an all-volunteer group and are working to create spaces for residents to work together to envision and build a different kind of city and region. pghrights [at] riseup [dot] net.

NEW Research on Pittsburgh and Human Rights Organizing:
Responding to Globalization and Urban Conflict: Human Rights City Initiatives Studies in Social Justice

Dangerous Times: Defending Human Rights
Values are fragile. Because the values of human rights depend foremost on the ability to empathize with others”to recognize the importance of treating others the way we would want to be treated ”they are especially vulnerable to the demagogue's exclusionary appeal. A society's culture of respect for human rights needs regular tending, lest the fears of the moment sweep away the wisdom that built democratic rule. Human Rights Watch "World Report 2017: Demagogues Threaten Human Rights-Trump, European Populists Foster Bigotry, Discrimination."

Defend Pittsburghers' Right to Stay in their City! Housing Justice
**Affordable Housing Initiative:** **Pittsburgh Housing Summit** (Resources and links to recordings of plenary sessions) "Don't evict Pittsburgh!" Housing is a human right! The essence of our city is people and communities--not buildings, businesses, and tourist attractions.Homes for All Pittsburgh

*The Human Rights City Alliance works to promote and support activities of all human rights advocates around the region. Please contact us about relevant events/activities to share: pghrigts [at] riseup.net .

About the Human Rights City Alliance

How to Get Involved


Link to more resources--toolkits, reports, and organizations supporting local human rights work

People-Centered Human Rights: Analyses from Around the Nation and World

OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute-Human Rights in Pittsburgh and Beyond, Resource Page

Past events

World Food Day 2015: Watch video recording of October 2015 panel on the Right to Food
International Workers Day March for Immigrant Rights 2016 Statement of Unity and Solidarity

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. --Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Website: pghrights.org Facebook: pghrights

e-mail: pghrights [at] riseup.net

Universal Declaration of Human Rights booklet with Pittsburgh's Human Rights City Proclamation

YWCA Pledge Stand against racism

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